NATIONAL NEWS

The Constitutional Court has nullified the May, 2019 presidential election

ZBS online/Times

The Constitutional Court has nullified the May, 2019 presidential election and called for fresh elections.

The Constitutional Court says quantitatively and qualitatively, it has found that there was an undue return of results of the election in May, 2019.

The Constitutional Court says it has found that MEC erred in delivering election results to illegal tally centres instead of the DCs offices from where the results were legally required to be sent to the main tally centre as dictated by the elections law.

The Constitutional Court says the fact that MEC failed to make available election materials, including log books, demonstrates that the organization operated against the Presidential and Parliamentary Elections Act.

The court says it does not find anywhere in electoral laws where MEC is permitted to use constituency tally centers.

He says if MEC saw it wise to use such centers, the procedure should have been through an amendment in Parliament.

Constitutional court suspects some people may have voted more than once or that there was some form of ballot stuffing in which case the fundamental principle of one-man-one-vote may have been flouted.

The Constitutional Court says the irregularities in the case before it were so widespread that the results can not be trusted as a true reflection of the election.

Chilima and Chakwera, petitioners in the case, argue that the presidential election results were marred by irregularities.

Chilima, through his five-member legal team, highlighted irregularities that should force the court to set aside the election results.

The second petitioner Malawi Congress party president Dr Rev Lazarus Chakwera described the election as a sham.

MCP argues that the massive irregularities in the election significantly affected the results of the vote such that the will of the people was subverted.

Among others, MCP argued that Mec erred by altering, varying and transmitting submitted results in clear disregard of the altered figures recorded on the results tally sheets.

It also faulted Mec for failing to detect alterations and variations in terms of the votes recorded in the system and the corresponding results tally sheets or not minding the same.

In their defence, Mec lead counsel who is also Attorney General, Kalekeni Kaphale, argued against breaching sections, 40, 76 and 77 of the Constitution defending that even in an event the law was breached there must be a demonstration that it affected the results of the presidential election.

Kaphale and President Peter Mutharika’s lawyer Frank Mbeta also believed that the petitioner’s case was weaker due to absence of monitors who witnessed the management of the results on the ground and the queried irregularities were seen throughout the country and that other candidates also benefited from them.

Mec declared Mutharika the winner of the disputed presidential election by 38 percent followed by Chakwera at 35 and Chilima 20 percent.

In the aftermath of the election, Malawi has been on fire with Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) leading an unprecedented wave of nationwide demonstrations since June last year, leading to looting and destruction of property.

HRDC has been pushing for the resignation of Mec Chairperson Jane Ansah who has in turn branded such calls mob justice saying she would only resign once the court declares that the presidential election was indeed marred by irregularities.

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