Former MDC-T Vice President Mr Obert Gutu has said this week’s court verdict on Malawi’s 2019 presidential election proved that a well packaged and presented election petition has chances of success.
“The law is precise and commonsensical. The law doesn’t operate on vapid and rabid politically-charged bald allegations of rigging and any other form of electoral malfeasances,” he said.
Mr Gutu said in Malawi, the petitioners were able to demonstrate that figures had been altered using Tippex, among other irregularities.
“On the other hand, the petitioner MDC-Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa in the Zimbabwe Presidential election petition of 2018, dismally and horribly failed to present any compelling evidence of vote manipulation.
“The petitioner (Chamisa) even called a Press conference at a Harare hotel and boastfully showed what he claimed to be V11 forms that would prove that he had 2,6 million votes in his favour.
“However, that turned out to be an insipid blue lie because the so-called V11 forms were actually not physically there to confirm, by way of a simple arithmetical process, that, indeed, he had 2,6 million votes in his favour,” he said.
Chamisa’s legal team also failed to request a vote recount within the time frame allowed by the Electoral Act.
Mr Gutu urged Malawians to remain calm ahead of the Presidential rerun.
Constitutional lawyer Professor Lovemore Madhuku also said the decision by the Constitutional Court of Malawi was not final and could be challenged because, in Malawi, the High Court is the Constitutional Court while the highest court is the Supreme Court of Appeal.
“Any of the parties aggrieved by the judgment may appeal to the Supreme Court of Appeal.
“If that happens, we will have to wait for the final decision of the Supreme Court of Appeal. The judgment may become final if no appeal is lodged.”
The Constitutional Court of Malawi on Monday ordered fresh Presidential polls in 150 days after establishing large-scale vote manipulation.
The Malawi Congress Party (MCP) and the United Transformation Movement (UTM) had petitioned the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) for declaring the incumbent President Peter Arthur Mutharika of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), as the winner with 38,57 percent of the vote.
MCP leader Mr Lazarus Chakwera garnered 35,41 percent while former Vice President Saulos Chilima of UTM got 20,24 percent of the votes.
The 500-page ruling cited the widespread use of unauthorised correctional fluid, Tippex, to alter figures; the use of duplicate result sheets and unsigned results forms, as cases that compromised the outcome of the elections.
Malawian Ambassador to Zimbabwe Annie Kumwenda said the outcome of the challenge was testimony to the independence of the judiciary in her country.
“The outcome is a sign of democratic growth and independence of our judiciary system. We are appealing to Malawians to embrace peace, unity and love during the campaigning period for the presidential election rerun.
“We are calling for a high level of discipline during the process. We may differ on our political allegiance, but we remain Malawians. We need to safeguard the interest of future generations to come. We need to campaign with freedom of association,” said Ambassador Kumwenda.
— Zim Voice