As everyone is aware, the 2019 presidential election was nullified on February 3 2020. This was after President Peter Mutharika had already been sworn in.
This election nullification was, and still is, a rare feat in Africa and other places at large. In fact, what the judges of at the Constitutional Court (ConCourt) did was a record-breaker, probably admired by other judges outside Malawi. They showed their independence in dealing with sensitive cases of the State.
In fact, the election nullification can best be described as “a blessing in disguise”. As it were, after Saulos Chilima of UTM and Lazarus Chakwera of the Malawi Congress Party (MCP) were not satisfied with the election results, they took the matter to court and summoned MEC and President Mutharika. Whether one likes it or not, this case proved that in this country there are judges who can critically look at a case and make a ruling without being influenced.
It was also pleasing to note that the judges refused millions of Kwacha as an alleged bribe from government. It is unique that one can refuse a bribe in a corrupt country like Malawi. There is an adage which says ‘money talks’ but to the judges in question it failed to talk, as they were busy dispensing justice.
The other thing is that the judges have proved wrong the belief that a State President and government agents cannot lose a case. This shows that having political power is not an advantage in a case. Furthermore, the judges in their ruling proved that no one is above the law.
Honestly speaking, of late Malawians at all levels have learnt a lot about human rights and political resilience. People now understand why they should join demonstrations without being enticed with handouts. They also understand that for change to come in Malawi everyone has to play a part, without any fear or favour.
As campaign for the June 23 2020 for the fresh presidential election is being concluded, it is laughable that at this day and age some political leaders still feel that they can entice voters with handouts. Malawians want implementable ideas to improve their lives, not handouts.
The outcome of the elections case proved that the petitioners had a stronger case evidence which led them to winning the case.
Meanwhile, it can be said that the nullification of the 2019 presidential election which was followed by a court case has been a blessing in disguise. First and foremost, people have learnt that rushing to swear in a presidential elect before all queries are settled does not give the winner total immunity to court cases.
The other thing most people have learnt is that Malawi has some of the best lawyers and judges on the continent. The Judiciary tries to maintain its independence as much as possible. They do not want even to be tampered with by the Executive. This was clearly stated during their demonstration on June 17 2020, after the Executive was involved in the internal matters of the Judiciary.
Lastly, having political power such as being a State President is not a licence to put a finger on matters of other independent arms of government.