Malawians in the Diaspora, including those resident in South Africa, are on Tuesday celebrating their country’s nullification of last year’s presidential elections due to “widespread irregularities” of the exercise.Malawi’s Constitutional Court, reading a 500-page judgment, on Monday evening ruled that incumbent President Peter Mutharika was “not duly elected” and it ordered the country to hold fresh elections within 150 days.
The five-judge panel blamed the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) and its Chairperson Jane Ansah for conducting an exercise that lacked “integrity” in its widespread use of correctional fluid and its failure to follow laid-down procedure during the voting process.
The South Africa-based Malawian diaspora group’s chairperson Priscilla Mwasinga said they were elated about what she termed positive news from Lilongwe, the Malawi capital where the court held the hearings.
“We are happy that it has come to this. We were anxious to know. But now we know that we’ve got a way forward in our country,” Mwasinga said.
The decision means that the Constitutional Court had upheld an application from Malawi’s opposition parties to nullify Mutharika’s victory in the 21 May 2019 presidential election.
Mutharika, who has been Malawi’s president since 2014, won the election with a 38.57% share of the vote running under his Democratic People’s Party.
The opposition Malawi Congress Party leader Lazarus Chakwera received 35.41% in the final tally and Deputy President Saulos Chilima got 20.24% under the banner of United Transformation Movement.
MEC declared Mutharika the winner despite complaints of irregularities. Both Chakwera and Chilima rejected the results and filed a petition to the high court asking it to nullify the results.