The Supreme Court of Appeal has delivered its judgement on an appeal by President Peter Mutharika and the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) on the disputed May 2019 presidential elections by dismissing them entirely and upholding the decision by the constitutional court that annulled last year’s controversial election, which saw Mutharika narrowly re-elected.
Chief Justice Andrew Nyirenda said it was a “unanimous decision” of 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.
The Supreme Court has ordered a new presidential elections should proceed as ordered by the ConCourt but using the 2019 voters roll.
And only presidential elections who competed in 2019 are eligible to compete in the rerun.
“Elections defines lifeline and roadmap of the society,” said the Chief Justice reading a judgement which he said might carry some typos and errors but will be perfected later.
“We should therefore avoid at any cost ushering leadership through the process that is fraud because chances are that such a process will not reflect the will of the people,” he said.
MEC and President Mutharika of Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) challenged the February 3 2020 judgement of the five-judge panel of the High Court of Malawi sitting as the Constitutional Court (ConCourt) which nullified the presidential election, citing irregularities in the results management system.
The country’s estranged Vice-President Saulos Chilima—who contested the May 21 presidential race on a UTM Party ticket— and Malawi Congress Party (MCP) president Lazarus Chakwera had challenged the presidential election results and the Constitutional Court granted them their wish.
ConCourt also ordered fresh elections which the Supreme Court of Appeal has also upheld.
The Supreme Court has also upheld the decision of the lower court which reverted the presidency—including the Office of the Vice-President—to the May 2014 election status of Mutharika as President and Chilima as Vice-President.
Mutharika previously denounced the Constitutional Court ruling as “a serious subversion of justice, an attack on our democratic systems and an attempt to undermine the will of the people”.
He said the ruling as a “serious miscarriage of justice” and an “attack on the foundations of the country’s democracy”.
Mutharika also refused assent to the proposed electoral law amendments, notably one that requires a more than 50 percent majority to secure a win.