Malawi Supreme Court upholds 50 +1 constitutes majority vote not first-past-the-post

The seven-judge panel of the Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal has ruled that the interpretation on what the majority means in the presidential elections is  50 +1 as  truly representative of the will of the people.

Senior Counsel Modercai Msisya being checked by security at the Court premises-pic by Lisa Kadango
DPP Secretary General Grezdar Jeffry interacts with MEC Lawyer Tamando Chokhoto and Lawyer Chancy Gondwe at the Court-pic by Lisa Kadango-
Vice President Saulos Chilima and Malawi Congress Party (MCP) presidential candidate Lazarus Chakwera asked the court to nullify presidential election

The seven-member judges’ panel of Justice of Appeal (JA) including Lovemore Chikopa, JAs Edward Twea, Anaclet Chipeta, Anthony Kamanga, Frank Kapanda and Rezine Mzikamanda said the matter appeared up for consideration in the lower court.

The court said there is no doubt that the issue of the meaning of majority was under question in the court proceedings but the parties failed to address the matter, gave scanty regard, when the court asked them to discuss the issue.

“It is important issue that raises the issue of legitimacy at presidency level,” said Justice Renzine Mzikamanda in reading the ruling.

Section 80 (2) of the constitution provides that the  President shall be elected “by majority of the elections through direct, universal and equal suffrage.”

“We hold this [50 +1] is the correct meaning of the majority. It will guard against manipulation of votes,” he added.

“It would be absurd that a presidential candidate who amasses 10 percent of the votes would be regarded as a majority vote.”

The MEC declared Mutharika the narrow winner of the May 2019  election with 38% of the vote, followed by Lazarus Chakwera with 35% and Saulos Chilima with 20%.

The Constitutional Court ruled that its interpretation of the section 80 (2) of the Constitution the word majority means 50+1 of the votes at the polls not the first-past-the-post.

Justice Mzikamanda said such interpretation safeguards principles of transparency, honesty and integrity.

In their judgement, the ConCourt judges comprising Healey Potani, Dingiswayo Madise, Ivy Kamanga, Redson Kapindu and Mike Tembo unanimously ruled that President Peter Mutharika was not duly elected in May 2019  because there were irregularities and he did not attain the majority vote.

However the Supreme Court expressed sharp disapproval of the Constitutional Court in making their declarations of the meaning of the majority:.

‘‘The court below should not have chastised the Supreme Court in the manner it did when determining the meaning of the majority.”

The Supreme Court – the final arbiter in the matter, nonetheless said: “We are in no doubt that the correct meaning of majority is  50 +1 and we depart from the Gwanda Chakuamba case. We will not allow thr absurdity of the meaning of majority affect the democratic will of the people.”

The ConCourt subsequently ordered a fresh election within 150 days of its judgement and directed Parliament to make some legislative provisions that would support the 50+1 constitutional provision.

Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :
0 0 vote
Article Rating

Sharing is caring!

Follow us in Twitter
77 Comments
newest
oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Kandulu
Kandulu
9 months ago

Well there is no need for APM to attack the Judiciary. He knows that after this ruling he can call the parliament to vote against the 50 plus one interpretation, which is now a law, or call for a national referendum. So stop attacking the learned Judges. The only problem is that he does not have enough time due to the coming elections. The referendum may still take place when he is already out of office.

Gamalieli
Gamalieli
9 months ago

Muthalirenji! Do you think your thinking is excellent kkkkkkk. Suppose the MEC ndi Ansah, whom do you think she can vote for to break the tie? For your information referee salowa in the ground to play so your thinking is below average.

Mechanic
Mechanic
9 months ago

Mongokumbutsana 20 years ago our democracy was ruined by Bakili Muluzi through his corrupt practices. Some of these comrades are vindicated by this ruling: GWANDA CHAKUAMBA…1ST APPELLANT – and – KAMLEPO KALUA ..2ND APPELLANT – and – BISHOP D. KAMFOSI MNKHUMBWE …3RD APPELLANT – and – THE ATTORNEY GENERAL..1ST RESPONDENT – and – MALAWI ELECTORAL COMMISSION…2ND RESPONDENT – and – THE UNITED DEMOCRATIC FRONT ……3RD RESPONDENT BEFORE- THE HONOURABLE THE CHIEF JUSTICE THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE UNYOLO, JA THE HONOUR-ABLE MR. JUSTICE MTEGHA, JA THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE TAMBALA, JA THE HONOURABLE MRS JUSTICE MSOSA, JA Stanbrook Q.C, Counsel for… Read more »

TRUTH
TRUTH
9 months ago

Was this a judicial review or an appeal case? Since 1994 how many elections did MEC use 50 + 1? This is an emotional approach. It is disgrace to our supreme court. If we want to correct the mistake already done, we have to correct it in the right way because such decisions becomes our future reference.

Dr. Godfrey Mvuma
Dr. Godfrey Mvuma
9 months ago

Justice and Sanity have preveiled. Malawi Judiciary is No. 1 in Africa, if not the entire world. It is setting a good precedence for African countries’ justice systems. Viva Malawi Justice system viva our Judges. Now turning to MCP/UTM Alliance, do not behave like the Malawi National Football Team (The Flames) who think when they are Leading by 2 Goals to Zero at Half Time, they have won the Game, only to conceed 3 Goals in the second Half, thus making the opponent to win the Game by 3 Goals to 2. Please MCP/UTM, this is the time to go… Read more »

tizanka
tizanka
9 months ago

So the Supreme Court has gone against its own ruling? Kkkkk when judges become politicians this is what happens.

Justice gone to the dogs

The Malawi judiciary is very reactive and not necessarily proactive. The same courts rulled during Gwanda that majority means first-past-the post. The same courts are rulling now that majority means 50+1. Our courts are So inconsistent! What kind of justice is this one? Kodi poweruza mulandu tizingoyendera kuti lero kwacha bwanji? And does it mean kuti courts can make laws and not parliament? Kodi mesa 50+1 yakanidwa kawiri ku parliament? Pano ndiye lasanduka lamulo? Nanga za RERUN in case of a tie-vote zilimo mumalamulomo? If 50+1 was already law, why were we not using it all these years? Where were… Read more »

Mangochi Kabwafu
Mangochi Kabwafu
9 months ago

Our courts are without a doubt among the best in the world. Proud of you and proud to be Malawian.

Flamingo
Flamingo
9 months ago

Can I be schooled by the leaned colleagues, is there a provision for runoff between 1 and if they fail to reach 50% if yes why have we not used it before if no what is implication on our electoral process?

Muthalirenji
Muthalirenji
9 months ago

Majudge ophunzira bwino akuganiza kuti 50%+1 law can can help in case of leading candidates getting same number of votes. They couldn’t imagine that even in 50%+1 we can have leading candidates have same number of votes: it’s possible to have APM and Chakwera all having 2,105,199 votes!
Think outside the box osamangokopera zakunja. Why not continuing kuti in case of a tie MEC Chair should have a casting vote?

Mangochi Kabwafu
Mangochi Kabwafu
9 months ago
Reply to  Muthalirenji

Very laughable argument, kikikikiiiiiiii

Chris
Chris
9 months ago
Reply to  Muthalirenji

Sometimes it’s best to keep your poor opinion to yourself. You’re a disgrace to your family

Bolero
Bolero
9 months ago
Reply to  Muthalirenji

Shaaa koma cadet akumva PHENI

Stockholm
9 months ago
Reply to  Muthalirenji

How can 2 candidates have 50+1 votes in the same election and tie on the number votes? You are just too dull!

Destroyer of liars
9 months ago
Reply to  Muthalirenji

Utter nonsense. Why should MEC chair have a casting vote to decide the winning president? Do you know what it means to have a casting vote? Can it apply in electing national leaders where millions of voters take part? Please don’t copy and paste opinions.

Nalingula
Nalingula
9 months ago
Reply to  Muthalirenji

Hahaha Draw Draw ,University of Nyekhwestan material ….

shares
Read previous post:
Malawi urged to cushion diaspora citizens in lockdown countries 

Human Rights Consultative Committee (HRCC) has asked the Malawi government to take  urgent steps towards addressing the plight of Malawians...

Close