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Victory for democracy in Malawi President Election

Lazarus Chakwera-new president of Malawi

What a surprise news from Malawi, a landlocked country in southeastern Africa? This is first-ever news that I could read with great joy in my heart. I thought it is the victory of democracy over the autocratic rule. It generates my enthusiasm and curiosity to know where is Malawi? Which country? where is it located?

‘So instantly, I ‘google’ and ‘type’ where is Malawi? Within a short period of time, I could acquire enough information about Malawi’s country. It say’s “Malawi is a landlocked country in southeast Africa, bordered by Zambia to the northwest, Tanzania to the northeast and Mozambique to the south, southwest, and southeast.

A map of African continent showing Malawi’s country

With this information, my curiosity is to know “How did Malawi’s re-run election is a victory for democracy?” I went through on-lines newspapers and article that covers the election news of Malawi country. Here is detailed coverage of the 2019 Malawian general election copy from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2019_Malawian_general_election#:~:text=General%20elections%20were%20held%20in,largest%20in%20the%20National%20Assembly.

General elections were held in Malawi on 21 May 2019 to elect the PresidentNational Assembly and local government councillors.[1] Incumbent President Peter Mutharika of the Democratic Progressive Party was re-elected, with his party remaining the largest in the National Assembly. However, on 3 February 2020, the Constitutional Court annulled the presidential election results due to evidence of irregularities, and ordered fresh elections be held.[2] They were widely dubbed the “Tipp-Ex elections” after a brand of correction fluid which opponents claimed had been used to tamper with votes.

The results of the 2019 elections were highly controversial and opposition leaders led by Lazarus Chakwera and Saulos Chilima disputed the results in court. Nationwide protests were held in May, June, and July 2019 in which supporters of the opposition accused the results of being rigged by Mutharika and Jane Ansah, chairperson of the Malawi Electoral Commission, calling for Ansah’s resignation. Malawian youth organized a “Jane Ansah Must Fall” campaign, which included days of protests in several cities. In response, thousands of women in Malawi held “I am Jane Ansah” solidarity protests after alleging that Ansah was the victim of gender discrimination.

On 3 February 2020, the Constitutional Court judges arrived in Lilongwe to read the disputed presidential election results judgement after travelling in a military vehicle with a heavy police escort. The judges took turns to read the 500-page decision over more than seven hours. The ruling nullified the results of the presidential election, concluding they had not met the standards of a free and fair election and that the Malawi Electoral Commission had failed to uphold its constitutional responsibilities. The judgement cited tampering of results, failure to address complaints raised by opposition candidates, and numerous other malpractices. The ruling also called into question the use of a plurality system in the presidential elections, stating the Malawi Constitution requires a majority of votes.

Mutharika was declared not duly elected and thus no longer President. The judges ordered fresh elections to be held within 150 days.

Although DPP won a plurality of seats, elections in three of the seats it won were annulled due to irregularities, and thus they were reduced to 59 lawmakers in the Parliament.

The above reason has given victory for democracy in Malawi President Election. It is the first time in history were top judges of the country have taken sensitive decisions to nullify the result of a general election in not only the African continent bust in the world.

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