The European Union says it stands ready to support Malawi “unity and democratic credentials”, following the ruling of the Constitutional Court last evening which nullified the May 21, 2019 presidential election and subsequently called for fresh election in 150 days.

“In the past months, Malawians have shown faith in the ongoing legal process and in their institutions.

“The European Union joins the calls made by the African Union and Southern African Development Community, addressed to all political leaders, to respect the ruling and use their influence to encourage its peaceful reception,” reads a statement issued at the EU headquarters in Brussels shortly after the ruling in Lilongwe.

The EU elections observer mission that observed the elections in Malawi in May last year declared the elections “free and fair” inviting for itself criticism from some sections of the Malawi society.

And on its’ second visit for publicity of its final report on the election, the mission was forced to abandon its plan after stakeholders open dislike of the approach coming ahead of ruling of the constitutional court where the matter had been tabled.

The Constitutional Court has nullified the May 21, 2019 presidential election on the basis of widespread irregularities and mismanagement by the Malawi Electoral Commission.

The court has further ordered that a president of Malawi should, by law, be elected by a majority vote through the acquisition of fifty per cent votes cast plus one (50+1).

Specifically, the Public Appointments Committee (PAC) of parliament has been tasked to look into the conduct of commissioners at the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) and determine if they are credible enough to conduct the fresh elections in view of the findings of the court and its ruling.

And in general, the Constitutional Court has also ordered the Malawi Parliament to review the appointment of the chairperson for MEC a task that has, hitherto, been with the state president.

Parliament has also ordered that, within 21 days, parliament should ensure an enabling environment for the elections to use the 50+1 system.

The order of the court now implies that Dr. Saulos Chilima returns into office as vice president of Malawi with President Peter Mutharika as his boss by virtue of the May 21, 2019 elections.

After eleven hours of pronouncement of what president judge Healy Potani said was a summary judgment, the five judges of the constitutional court rose to retire after 61 days of work.

After meandering in the nitty gritties of the case, arguments and counter arguments brought before it, the constitutional court has also given directions changing a position of the Supreme Court, a development that has taken many experts unawares including some lawyers.

Lead lawyer for Dr. Chakwera, Modecai Msiska has described the ruling as “what he expected and victory for the young generation” and advised young people to strive to do what is right if the country is to move forward.

Writing on his Facebook wall, lead lawyer for Dr. Chilima, Dr. Chikosa Silungwe says the victory in the courts was a result of team work of lawyers, IT experts and others.

He says; “ The harder work starts now. The urgent electoral law reform required is deep rooted. The 50+1 interpretation immediately changes our political culture. Perhaps we begin to deal with politics based on tribe.

There may be an appeal. However, to constitutional theorists, political scientists and others: Elections must now pass the credibility and integrity test”.

The judges arrived at court in Lilongwe in two millitary armoured vehicles around 8:30 in the morning showers of Monday with a helicopter hovering over the skies of the courts.

The pronouncement of the summary verdict was punctuated by two breaks one 15 minutes and the other one hour long. The full judgment, according to judge Potani, is 500 pages long.

Credit: Zodiak Online

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