The May 21 tripartite Malawi elections have been the most disputed and most emotional experience since the advent of multiparty politics in 1993 as opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) of Lazarus Chakwera and another opposition UTM party of Saulos Chilima are challenging the re-election of the incumbent Peter Mutharika of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in Constitutional Court.
They contend that the elections were rigged and beset with a number of gross irregularities and electoral malpractice, citing duplicate tally sheets, counterfeit tally sheets, altered tally sheets and using tippex to doctor the results all in favour of Peter Mutharika.
They have requested the court to nullify the election results and demanded the resignation of Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC ) chairperson Jane Ansah.
The case was initially heard on 14 June in the constitutional court.
Civil society organisations, among them, the Human Rights Defenders Coalition have added their weight behind opposition parties in calling for the immediate resignation of MEC chairperson because of the way she handled the elections.
They have planned demonstrations, backed by the Public Affairs Committee, on 20 June in all the regions of the country for her to resign.
Chilima also wrote a damning letter to MEC chairperson to resign. Among other issues, he accuses her of influencing members of staff to help her to ensure that Mutharika is re-elected because she did not want Chakwera to win because his running mate, Sidik Mia, is a Moslem.
There has been smearing political tension since the results were announced on 27 May. MCP supporters, occasionally joined by supporters from other political parties, have been demonstrating in different parts of the country chanting anti-Mutharika songs, urging him to step down and call for fresh elections.
In the aftermath of election results, sporadic violence has occurred in the central region, the bastion of MCP’s support. The police have on several occasion fired teargas at MCP supporters, sometimes acting with heavy handedness.
Aside the demonstrations, the election case has caught the attention of many Malawians for several reasons.
Previous disputed election results such as MCP-UDF in 1999 and MCP-UDF in 2004 were not concluded in court. They died a natural death. Based on past experience, many have been incredulous that this one too might die a natural death.
The Attorney General, DPP and MEC lawyers were rendering credence to this fact by asking the court to dismiss the case on grounds that the application was filed late. However, the court has reserved its ruling on 19 June when the case goes back to court.
This election case has divided Malawians with both pro-government and opposition supporters exchanging bitter words against each other. It has got Malawians discussing the results on social media platforms and public places with passion and defending their side of the fence.
But this is not all, the case has attracted the highest number of lawyers. The five lawyers representing Salous Chilima, ten for MCP, and more than six for Mutharika will present their case before a panel of five judges in the constitutional court.
Malawians are hoping for judicial independence and eager for the verdict to be delivered within the statutory 24 days.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :