Malawi: Law Expert Fears Malawi Heading for Constitutional Crisis Over Presidential Rerun

A renowned legal expert fears the country is heading towards a serious Constitutional crisis if elections are not held by July 2, 2020.

Justine Dzonzi: There may be a vacuum in presidency

Justice Dzonzi of Justice Link has told a high-level meeting in Lilongwe that it is now up to parliament to avert the crisis by setting the date for the election.

"After the end of the 150 days which the courts ordered for the country to hold fresh, the mandate of president Peter Mutharika would have been elapsed," he said.

He said this means there would be a vacuum in the presidency.

Dzonzi said this Friday at a high level civil society conference in Lilongwe organised by Nice Trust.

His presentation attracted mixed reaction.

Participants probed Dzonzi on the possible legal implications if Malawi cannot hold a fresh election within the 150 days prescribed by the court.

Dzonzi said Malawi might face the crisis because framers of the Constitution never anticipated that the office of the president can fall vacant after courts nullified an election.

He therefore said parliament needs to amend Section 80 of the Constitution by way of vote of two-thirds majority.

Parliament meets from this Friday with President Peter Mutharika expected to deliver a pre-recorded State of the Nation Address (Sona) to the House.

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