Mnangagwa calls on Malawian authorities to respect poll reversal judgement

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PRESIDENT Mnangagwa, who chairs the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation, has urged all responsible authorities in Malawi to respect the judgment of the constitutional court and maintain peace.

Malawi’s constitutional court on Tuesday nullified last year’s disputed presidential election results, citing “widespread” irregularities and ordered a new vote.

The Malawi Congress Party (MCP) and the United Transformation Movement (UTM) had petitioned the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) over declaring the incumbent President Professor Peter Arthur Mutharika of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), as the winner with 38,57 percent of the vote.

MCP leader Lazarus Chakwera garnered 35,41 percent while former Vice President Saulos Chilima of UTM got 20,24 percent of the votes.

In their ruling, a panel of five judges ordered a fresh presidential election to be held within 150 days.

The 500-page ruling cited the widespread use of Tippex to alter figures, the use of duplicate result sheets and unsigned results forms, as cases that compromised the outcome of the elections.

In statement yesterday, President Mnangagwa said SADC will remain seized with the developments in Malawi.

“The Southern African Development Community acknowledges the decisions of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Malawi that was delivered on 3rd February 2020, which nullified the results of the Presidential election held on 21st May, 2019.

“SADC commends the constitutional court for upholding the Malawian constitution and the electoral law in the conduct of the petition. SADC urges all stakeholders to respect the judgment of the constitutional court and maintain peace and tranquillity while the relevant national institutions prepare for fresh elections.

“SADC will continue to support the Republic of Malawi in the election process as guided by the SADC Principles Governing Democratic Elections and will remain seized with the developments in Malawi,” he said.

Malawian Ambassador to Zimbabwe Annie Kumwenda told The Herald recently that the outcome of the court challenge was testimony to the independence of the judiciary in her country.

She said the outcome was a sign of a democratic growth and independence of the Malawian judiciary system.

Prof Mutharika has hinted that he will appeal the ruling, which is provided for in Malawi’s constitution.