Malawi President Mutharika to appeal overturning of re-election: ‘Miscarriage of justice’

President Peter Mutharika plans to challenge a court decision overturning his 2019 poll victory, his spokesman said on Wednesday, in a move that could spark fresh opposition protests.

President Mutharika to appeal overturning of poll win

After six months of hearings that gripped the southern African country, five top judges on Monday ruled that Mutharika was “not duly elected”, citing massive and widespread irregularities including the use of correction fluid on results sheets.

The judges ordered a fresh poll within 150 days.

But Mutharika’s spokesman, Mgeme Kalilani, described the ruling as “a serious miscarriage of justice and an attack on the foundations of the country’s democracy”, telling AFP that Mutharika would appeal.

He did not say when Mutharika would bring the challenge, but the 79-year-old president has up to six weeks to appeal.

On Tuesday, Lazarus Chakwera, the leader of the main opposition Malawi Congress Party, who came a close second to Mutharika, hailed the landmark verdict as a victory for democracy and Africa.

Addressing more than 10,000 jubilant opposition supporters who thronged his party’s Lilongwe headquarters, Chakwera said “this is a great day”.

“It is democracy that has won. It is Malawi that has won. It is Africa that has won. And now justice has been served,” he said.

Mutharika was declared the winner of the May 21 election with 38.5 percent of the vote, Chakwera losing by just 159,000 votes.

Chakwera went to court to challenge the result.

Results ‘cannot be trusted’

In their unprecedented ruling, the constitutional court judges concurred that “the irregularities and anomalies have been so widespread, systematic and grave… that the integrity of the results has been seriously compromised”.

The court said only 23 percent of the result sheets had been able to be verified, and that the outcome announced by the electoral commission “cannot be trusted as a true reflection of the will of the voters”.

It is the first time a presidential election has been challenged on legal grounds in Malawi since independence from Britain in 1964, and only the second African vote result to be cancelled, after the 2017 Kenya presidential vote.

Allegations of vote-rigging sparked protests across the normally peaceful country shortly after results were announced.

Mutharika’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) urged citizens to “maintain peace and order”.

In Zomba, the former colonial capital and now fourth-largest city, opposition supporters sang and danced in the streets on Tuesday, calling on Mutharika to step down following the historic ruling.

The Southern African Development Community commended the court for “upholding the Malawian constitution” and pledged to “support… the election process”.

Mutharika, 79, will remain president until the new election, the court ruled.

“It is a good time to be alive in Malawi. We have demonstrated that democracy does and can work in Africa. And this victory is not for us, it is for generations to come,” said Lameck Hango, who celebrated with his friends in Lilongwe.

Another Lilongwe resident, Johnson Banda, said he was “very happy with this judgement”.

“It’s a true indication that Malawi has true democracy.”

But Mutharika supporter Chimpele Tsamwa was less pleased.

“The judgement is not what I expected nor wanted — but then all in all we trust the courts and have to go with what they have said. That’s the beauty with democracy,” he said.

The international community has urged calm.

“We call upon all Malawians to respect the decision of the court and to adhere to the path outlined in Malawi’s constitution and electoral laws, including on the right to appeal,” said Tibor Nagy, the top US diplomat for Africa.

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masa masina
masa masina
7 months ago

kicks of a dieing horse

Majotie
Majotie
7 months ago

It is not justice when you steal elections Pulofesa. Electoral justice demands that you adhere wholesome to the legal framework pertaining to elections not cutting corners like what MEC did. It is fundamental to ensuring the stability of the political system. When you start manipulating results in your favor the result is chaos and this is what we are seeing right now. Your appeal, despite being your right, will further raise political temperatures in the country. You are totally ill informed Mr President.

kamps
kamps
7 months ago

APM will end like Mugabe,mark my words

Jose
Jose
7 months ago

Musatayitse nthawi Dziko is si zone ochakwera kapena chilima Loma an anthu tsogolo koala.zopusa timachitazi tizitaye chizik tachisakaza.maliro sabwerera Mumbai nthawi ya ukhuluku yahya ngati akufuna mpando chita chilungamo kwa a malawi tonse.period.Democracy has won.

Chief
Chief
7 months ago

Supreme Court we see you don’t waste our time coz time is life….please throw the stupid appeal out thru the courts window same day they bring it

Keen Observer
Keen Observer
7 months ago

Peter Mutharika & his cronies know exactly that they dont have a winnable case that’s why in the first place they sent Mpinganjira to bribe the Judges, if it were that they knew that they have a ground to stand on, they couldn’t have tried to bribe the Judges. Now this appeal as much as it is their constitutional right to do so, the main reason here is to buy time so that they can regroup. There is confusion in the blue Camp so want to strategize. They know that with unanimous judgment & the fact that they wanted to… Read more »

Apumbwa
Apumbwa
7 months ago

The appeal is dead before arrival!

HUBBY
HUBBY
7 months ago

Guys
No worry. The good thing is as of now SKC is the vice president. And should APM die before the fresh elections SKC will be the head of state. Let’s just pray for his death before then and things will be a bit better. His unwillingness to set date for fresh elections might be a blessing in disguise.

Chief
Chief
7 months ago
Reply to  HUBBY

Kkkkkkkkk

H E Nyaphapi One
7 months ago

Kachitsiru aka katinyasa.

Brave Thandulo
Brave Thandulo
7 months ago

Soon after Jane Ansah admitted Tippex was not allowed by her or MEC regulations, in other words the systematic and permissive introduction of the same was illegal, Peter Mutharika, as a lawyer, should have called for a new election. Thereby saving the country rare resources, and the Malawian people, unprecedented strife. With the attempted bribe of the judges, depending on who was behind it, there is no other choice but to dissolve MEC.

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