Malawi: Nkhoma Synod Declares Feb 3 Holiday - Malawi Poll Case Judgement Day

29 January 2020

The Nkhoma Synod of the Church of Central Africa Presbyterian (CCAP) has asked all its workers in all its institutions to go on holiday on Monday, February3 2020 when the High Court of Malawi sitting as the Constitution Court will be delivering judgement on the presidential election nullification petition case.

Petitioners Chakwera and Chilima in their separate submissions want presidential election results to be declared 'invalid, null and void'

The Judiciary has announced that the five-judge panel comprising Healey Potani, Ivy Kamanga, Dingiswayo Madise, Redson Kapindu and Mike Tembo will deliver tjeir ruling from 9am in Lilongwe.

In a letter signed by deputy general secretary, Reverend Brian Kamwendo, and seen by Nyasa Times, the Synod has further asked all its faithfuls to "continue being on their knees for the peace and tranquillity of the nation".

"As per the Synod's mandate which is derived from scripture and our values within the corporate governance code as adapted by the Synod code of ethics and operations; we are obliged at all times to be sensitive to matters of Church and Society," reads the letter in part.

"To this end, the Synod would like to advise all Heads of Synod Institutions to observe a holiday on this day," says the letter.

On social media platforms, Malawians are sharing tips on how to be safe and advising one another to stock up essentials such as foodstuffs, fuel and prepaid electricity and water units.

Independent Schools Association of Malawi (Isama) president Joseph Patel advised school management in hotspot areas to take precautionary measures to ensure the safety of learners as they fear there may be violence in the aftermath of the ruling.

Leading bus companies have also issued notices saying that there will be no services on the day of the judgement.

Malawi Police Service has assured the public of safety.

"The Malawi Police Service would like to assure all the citizens that it has put in place necessary measures to control any acts of violence before, during and after the court judgement to ensure that law and order is maintained in the country," said Acting Inspector General of Police Duncan Mwapasa in a statement.

"Any person or group planning to cause unrest during this period will be dealt with... "

And Ministry of Information, Civic Education and Communications Technology said in a separate statement that security agencies will be on alert to deal with any chaotic situation during and beyond the day of judgement.

"Government is aware that this ruling will attract different reactions. As such, the State security organs are well-prepared to keep the peace that the country has safeguarded and enjoyed for many years," said Minister of Information, Civic Education and Communications Technology Mark Botoman.

The minister, who is the official government spokesperson, added: "Government urges all political parties to respect the rule of law and the Judiciary which is an independent arm of government. Sobriety and patriotism are key ingredients to peace during this period. We only have one Malawi and destruction of the country is counterproductive."

The information minister has called for calm, saying the government has put in place measures to ensure all citizens are safe.

In the case, two of the presidential candidates in the May 21 2019 Tripartite Elections--UTM Party's Saulos Chilima (the first petitioner) and Malawi Congress Party candidate Lazarus Chakwera (the second petitioner)--want the court to nullify presidential election results.

The petitioners wants fresh elections over alleged irregularities, especially in the results management system. Incumbent President Peter Mutharika of Democratic Progressive Party, who was declared winner of the elections, is the first respondent with Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) as the second respondent.

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