Malawi: High Court Postpones Voting Result Announcement Indefinitely

Malawi’s High Court on Sunday postponed the announcement of the final vote counting results from last week’s presidential vote indefinitely. The court has ordered the electoral board not to announce presidential results until ballots from a third of the voting districts are recounted, reported Eyewitness News.

 The move is aimed at keeping a check on the electoral chaos and tension growing in the poor southern African country.

On Saturday, the main opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) had obtained an injunction from the court that barred the electoral commission from releasing the results and ordering a recount from some polling districts. The party claimed that there were irregularities in results from 10 of the country’s 28 districts. The opposition parties also complained that result figures on many sheets were changed using correction fluid.

MCP spokesperson Eisenhower Mkaka said the party made an appeal to the court because of “very glaring irregularities” noticed on results sheets turned in from polling stations. He pointed out that some of the documents showed the same handwriting coming from different polling stations. He added that there was “a lot of tippexing”.

“What we are seeing is a fraudulent election, the result has been tampered with,” Mkaka said.

The Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) went to the same court on Sunday calling out to lift the order that blocked it from announcing the election winner. But the High Court reserved its judgment.

“The court has said they will make a decision within a reasonable time but they have not said when that will be,” said MEC lawyer David Banda.

Around 6.8 million Malawi’s voted to elect a new parliament and local government councilors on May 21. The partial voting results released last on Thursday found incumbent President Peter Mutharika garnering  40.9 percent of the vote, Chakwera of the MCP with 35.44 percent of the vote, and Vice President Chilima with 18 percent of the vote. 

Caroline Finnegan

A professionnal journalist for the past ten years, I cover global news and economic affairs for The Chief Observer.

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