Malawi: Mutharika Says Ready to Campaign and 'Win Again' - Prides Himself 'Peaceful President'

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

President Peter Mutharika has said he is challenging a Constitution Court's decision to overturn his 2019 election victory, not to stop the next elections but to "correct fundamental errors in the judgement," saying he is ready to campaign and "win again."

Mutharika with one of his lawyers Frank Mbeta: Instructing to appeal against the Constitutional Couryt judgment and challenge it.

The Constitutional Court stunned Malawians on Monday when it annulled the May 2019 presidential vote that declared Mutharika a winner. The court cited "widespread, systematic and grave" irregularities, which included results sheets with sections blotted out or altered with correction fluid, and it ordered a re-run.

On Wednesday evening in a special address to the nation, Mutharika announced he would appeal the court's decision so as to correct the "flawed precedence for all the elections in all future elections in the country."

In a unanimous decision, a panel of five judges ordered that a new presidential vote be held within 150 days.

But Mutharika clarified that he is not appealing to stop the fresh election, saying he is confident that he will canvass for votes and win a fresh mandate.

"Let me however state that we are not appealing to stop the next election. In fact, we are ready to campaign and win as we have always done," said Mutharika.

"We are appealing to correct the fundamental errors in the judgement to protect our laws, principles of justice and democracy. We believe the judgement has errors that need to be corrected. Above all, we seek justice," he added.

Mutharika applauded opposition leaders Dr Lazarus Chakwera and Dr Saulos Chilima f or taking their electoral grievances to Court as provided for in the country's laws.

"That is democracy," he stated.

However, Mutharika condemned violence and appealed to all Malawians to reject violence, keep calm and order at all times.

The President said the Constitutional Court judgement is not the end of litigation process in the May 21 elections case.

"Malawi is a country of laws. As a lawful nation, there remains a number of laws and legal processes and procedures provided in our Constitution to regulate how we conduct ourselves to resolve our situation.

"The most important thing is that we must preserve our constitutional order and ensure that Malawi continues to be stable and peaceful," he said.

Mutharika said his administration allowed justice to take its course in the election petition case because "we respect the rule of law and especially because I want to continue seeing peace, love and unity prevailing among us. I am a peaceful President."

He persuaded Malawians not to be "carried away" by the Constitution Court ruling "because it is not the end of everything. We are one people. We have one Malawi. We remain one nation. And Malawi is bigger than us all."

The Constitutional Court ruling does not invalidate all the decisions made by the Presidency before the ruling.

President Mutharika will bear his own court costs but the UTM president Saulos Chilima and Malawi Congress Party president Lazarus Chakwera will have court costs paid for by the Malawi Electoral Commission.

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