The 2019 election victory of Malawian President Peter Mutharika has been annulled by the country’s constitutional court on grounds of widespread irregularities.
Five top judges who presided over the case on Monday February 5, ruled that Mutharika was “not duly elected” in the election which is the first to be legally challenged since Malawi’s independence in 1964. The court judgement which ordered a fresh poll within 151 days, allowed Mutharika to stay in power till the new election takes place.
Before annulment of Malawi’s 2019 Presidential election, the country’s electoral body announced that President Peter Mutharika won a second term in May with 38.6% of the vote, while opposition party leader Lazarus Chakwera got 35.41% and Deputy President Saulos Chilima who formed his own party had 20.24% in the final tally.
Some of the irregularities pointed out by the opposition candidates includes use of correction fluid – known by the brand name Tipp-Ex on some of the tallying forms sent in by polling stations. They alleged that changes were made after they had been signed by party agents. There were also some mathematical errors in a small number of cases.
The Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) defended itself by saying the correction fluid was used to alter procedural information that had been incorrectly entered. It however denied supplying the Tipp-Ex.
Reacting to the court judgement on Wednesday February 5, Mutharika said he will be appealing the court’s decision which overturned his victory.
Speaking to AFP, Mutharika’s spokesman Mgeme Kalilani said;
“The judgement is a serious miscarriage of justice and an attack on the foundations of the country’s democracy”