Malawi: ConCourt Says Malawi Electoral Laws Does Not Give MEC Adequate Time to Resolve Disputes

Malawi President Peter Mutharika addresses his supporters during his swearing-in ceremony in Blantyre, May, 28, 2019.
3 February 2020

In reading of the judgement in the presidential elections nullificationcase at the Constitutional Court in Lilongw, lead Judge Healy Potani has said the Presidential and Parliamentary Act (PPEA) does not give the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) enough time to resolve electoral disputes.

Potani, in his reading of the judgement, said Section 99 of the PPEA needs review as it does not give enough time to MEC to processes and resolve disputes before declaration of the winner.

PPEA gives MEC eight days to receive, look at them and make a ruling and gazette and publish the results on radio and newspapers.

According to the Constitutional Court, eights days given to the electoral body is inadequate.

Meanwhile, Potani outlined that UTM Party and Malawi Congress Party (MCP), first and second petitioners, respectively, sought, among others the declaration of null and void of the May 21 Presidential vote; and declaration that MEC failed to remedy the complaints which amounted to great violation of sections 77 and 40 of the Malawi Constitution.

The petitioners also asked the court to reverse MEC's declaration of the winner claiming that the first respondent, President Peter Mutharika was not duly elected as President because he did not obtain a truly majority of the votes.

In the petitions, UTM's Dr Saulosi Chilima and MCP's Lazarus Chakwera indicate results of the 78 constituencies were not tallied affecting 1,412,105 votes and 523 tally sheets were not duly signed for.

The petitioners also contended that there were 176 tippexed tally sheets, 70 counterfeit and 634 tally sheets were altered.

The petitioners also claim that MEC did not act with due diligence in the management of the electoral process and that the electoral body showed bias against the second petitioner, Lazarus Chakwera by failing to act impartially in the administration and management of the electoral process.

MEC declared Peter Mutharika as president with 1,940,709 votes, representing 38.75 percent of the total votes cast. Chakwera scored 1,781,714 votes, representing 35.41 percent.

Reading of the judgement continues at the Lilongwe High Court sitting as a Constitutional Court with panel of five judges, namely Healy Potani, Ivy Kamanga, Mike Tembo, Dingiswayp Madise and Redson Kapindu.

More From: Nyasa Times

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