Malawi Constitutional Court on Wednesday rejected President Peter Mutharika and the electoral commission’s plea to suspend a judgment that annulled last May’s presidential elections reported Yahoo News.
Earlier this month, the court declared the results of the May 2019 presidential election as invalid, citing “widespread, systematic and grave” irregularities including significant use of correction fluid to alter the voting results. The ruling also ordered the southern African country to hold a fresh presidential election within 150 days and launch a probe into the operations of the electoral commission.
According to the privately-run Nation Newspaper, the Malawi court on Wednesday ruled that Mutharika’s application to stay the ruling is dismissed in its entirety.
“This is a public law case and the law must be cautiously applied,” said Judge Dingiswayo Madise.
In response to MEC’s argument about the cost of conducting fresh elections as the basis for staying the ruling, the court said it will not cancel fresh elections on account of cost. It also dismissed the electoral commission’s argument about needing time for voter education.
“Democracy is expensive. Citizens’ rights are paramount. The court will not stop the pursuit of constitutionally sound elections on account of cost,” Madise said.
In related news, Mary Nkosi, one of the senior members of the Malawi Electoral Commission, MEC, made surprising disclosures over the conduct of the electoral body in the annulled election results, reported Africa News.
Nkosi said MEC made a very big mistake in declaring Peter Mutharika the winner of the election. She said the elections were marred by a lot of irregularities. She revealed that some members were forced to sign the election results sheets a few hours to the swearing-in ceremony.
“My own conscience tells me that we did it – we were wrong – because I thought we should have gone to court, asked for an extension to look into these serious allegations of changing figures, erasures,” Nkosi said.