Courtesy of WIkimedia Commons

Re-elected Malawi president denied appeal against court’s rulings


Malawi’s Constitutional Court denied Peter Mutharika an appeal on Feb. 12 against a court ruling that overturned Mutharika’s 2019 re-election.


A 500-page ruling by judges cited widespread use of unauthorized correction fluid had been used to alter figures and duplicate result sheets, as well as unsigned result forms which compromised the election results. Only 23% of the result sheets were able to be verified, so the outcome by the electoral commission “cannot be trusted as a true reflection of the will of the voters,” according to an Al Jazeera report.


Malawi Electoral Commission member Mary Nkosi appeared before a special parliamentary committee and stated the results were mishandled.


“I did not see the justification [for] this, but there was an apparent rush to have the results put together and announced,” Nkosi said to Al Jazeera. “It was a big let-down.”


The electoral results last year declared Mutharika the winner with 38% of votes, followed by Lazarus Chakwera with 35% and former Vice President Saulo Chilima with 20% in third.


Mgeme Kalilani, Mutharika’s spokesman, spoke to Agence France-Presse news agency describing the 2019 ruling to be “a serious miscarriage of justice and an attack on the foundations of the country’s democracy” and that the ruling was “an attack on our democratic systems and an attempt to undermine the will of the people.”


Mutharika still stands by the election results.


“The election was not rigged; [it was] free, fair and credible,” Mutharika said to Al Jazeera.


The international response appears to have praised Malawi for taking responsibility. “We call upon all Malawians to respect the decision of the court and to adhere to the path outlined in Malawi’s constitution and electoral laws, including on the right to appeal,” said Tibor Nagy, United States diplomat for Africa, as reported by Al Jazeera.


“The court has received both appeals by first respondent [the president] and second respondent [electoral commission],” said High Court Registrar Anges Patemba, according to Reuters


A series of protests have occurred across Malawi, some demanding the resignation of electoral commission members for allegedly mismanaging the vote. 

Many businesses and homes were shut in fear of violence and looting, according to The New York Times.


Chairman of the Human Rights Defenders Coalition Timothy Mtambo stated to Al Jazeera: “We think when we leave it in the hands of politicians, nothing works. We will use our own means to make sure these people are taken to account.”


Chakwera, leader of the main opposition Malawi Congress Party, praised the verdict as a win for democracy.


“It is democracy that has won. It is Malawi that has won. It is Africa that has won. And now justice has been served,” he said to Al Jazeera.

This is the first time a presidential vote had been overturned in the country of Malawi. What really happened to the first election results remain unknown. Judges ordered a new election to take place within 150 days, according to BBC News.