The former President of Ghana, Dr Jerry Rawlings, has, over the weekend, applauded the decision of Malawi’s Constitutional Court, which nullified the May 21, 2019 presidential polls in the South African country, during which incumbent President Peter Mutharika was declared winner.
The Malawi Court had last week nullified the results of last year’s presidential election in the country, citing “widespread, systematic and grave irregularities including significant use of correction fluid to alter the result sheets”.
The verdict resulted from a challenge of the outcome of the election filed by Saulos Chilima, leader of the opposition United Transformation Movement Party, and Lazarus Chakwera, leader of the Malawi Congress Party.
The court’s unanimous verdict read by Justice Harley Potani spurred instant celebrations from opposition supporters who attended the court session.
In the 500-page judgment read for 10 hours, the court cited “irregularities and anomalies”, including the use of correction fluid, uses of duplicate forms and lack of signatures on some result sheets.
The MEC had declared Mutharika the winner of the May election with 38% of the vote, followed by Lazarus Chakwera with 35% and Saulos Chilima with 20%.
But the court found that the MEC had breached constitutional provisions and gave 150 days for a repeat election.
The judges also challenged the electoral system, and called for a new law to guide fresh elections.
In his reactions, Rawlings said the court’s decision has restored the Malawi citizens’ trust on the judiciary, which was deemed to be corrupted.
According to Rawlings: “I have been following the elections case in Malawi. Once again, this tiny Southern African country has proved to the whole world that it is governed by rule of law.
“The Court has nullified last year’s presidential elections. You may argue with me that similar nullification has occurred before in Kenya.
“But I challenge that the Malawi case is unprecedented.There were bribery allegations. The Judges stood for the truth and could not accept any money from any politician.
“We are told that a sum of about US$20 million was offered to the Judges but they refused and decided to uphold the rule of law.
“If that same money was given to some Ghanaian Judges, they would sell the whole country, including selling Ghanaians abroad.
“But the Malawian Judges stood firm on the truth. I admire the Malawi Judiciary which stands for the truth. As Ghanaians there is a lot we can learn from the Malawi experience”.
A constitutional court in Malawi on Monday nullified the election President Peter Mutharika last May, citing massive irregularities during the process.