Malawi: Court Refuses to Suspend Enforcement of Malawi Fresh Elections Judgement

Malawi's President Peter Mutharika.
12 February 2020

The Constitution Court has refused to grant Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) and President Peter Mutharika any suspension of enforcement of the judgement nullifying last year's presidential election.

On MEC's argument about the cost of conducting fresh elections peeged at K48 billion as basis for staying the Concourt ruling, the judges dismissed this, saying if there will be any costs to be incurred and losses made it will be squarely on Malawians.

In its ruling, the Court said MEC's argument that they need more time to conduct activities such as voter civic education doesn't stand as it is "luxury of time" and is dismissed.

" A successful litigant must not be restrained from reaping the fruits of his labour.If the party is seeking a stay order it must show the court that such a stay is necessary by showing the court its evidence. In this case it is up to the Respondents to demonstrate what injustice will be occasioned to not grant the stay order. The case before us has a public interest nature as opposed to private law," said Judge Dingiswayo Madise on behalf of the panel of five judges.

Lawyer for Saulos Chilima , Khumbo Soko says he is happy with the ruling.

On the other hand, lawyer for Mutharika, former Attorney General Charles ChidongondoMhango says he has accepted the ruling "we tried and did our best",

Mhango said he welcomed the ruling as his comment but will give a report to his client on what to do next.

"[President Mutharika] First respondent's application is dismissed entirely," ruled the court.

"The application by second respondent (Malawi Electoral Commission) is dismissed in its entirely."

Constitutional Court found that the electoral body incompetently managed the May 21 2019 Tripartite Elections, especially in the management of the presidential election results.

The ruling established that the 2019 voting process had been marred by serious irregularities.

Electoral Commission had also failed to address complaints before announcing results. Tally sheets lacked monitor signatures and several accepted tally sheets that had been corrected using Tipp-Ex.

The court annulled the election and called for fresh elections within 150 days from February 3 2020, a judgement which the electoral body is appealing at the Supreme Court of Appeal.

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