It is true that no one is above the law. It is also equally a fact that for democracy to flourish and survive, all people in Malawi justice must be equal before the law.
For this to work, justice must always be delivered within the shortest possible time. In fact, for justice to be observed, it starts with a duly-elected leader who gives no room to injustices. Failing which, the leadership might not even appreciate the rule of law, let alone recognise the suffering of the people.
It is common knowledge that Malawians have been facing all manner of injustices, most of which come about because of how leaders, including the Head of State, are elected. Some of them in Malawi do not earn their positions. As a result, they spend a lot of time trying to prove to the people that they are the best, even though it is clear that they are failing to deliver their campaign promises. It must be mentioned that in Malawi, election time is a desperate moment as voters look forward to replacing non-performers with performers.
Meanwhile, even if voters are ready to choose their preferred candidates, in Malawi the main stumbling block seems to be the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC), which has forced people to believe that in an election, voters are not important but those who count the votes.
At every election people have been complaining about MEC mismanaging the whole process. The main reason is that the organisation seems not independent, but is influenced by the powers that be. Hence, the electoral body cannot be trusted.
It goes without saying that the May 21 2019 tripartite elections were generally believed to be a turning point for bringing leadership change in Malawi. The Mutharika leadership has failed. Never before have Malawians faced such unprecedented levels of suffering.
So far, they have said ‘enough is enough’ and, therefore, were geared for change in the 2019 elections, and most likely people voted accordingly. There were mixed reactions to the result of the presidential election. Most voters reacted by saying that their vote was stolen by MEC. As is often the case, the electoral body was not ready to listen to voters’ complaints. Instead, the President-elect was quickly sworn-in, to be protected by getting immunity against any court proceedings.
Presidential immunity aside President Mutharika was petitioned by UTM leader Saulos Chilima and MCP leader Lazarus Chakwera to constitutional court about the alleged fraudulent election which had put Mutharika into power. On February 3 2020 the Constitutional Court (ConCourt) nullified the 2019 presidential election result because of the glaring irregularities by MEC. The court, therefore, called for fresh elections within 150 days. Some Malawians celebrated in the streets and homes upon hearing that President Mutharika was not duly elected.
The February 3 2020 land mark ruling will go into the history of Malawi that for the first-time a sworn-in President was proved not duly elected.
The most important thing about the ruling is that it showed that no one is above the law.
For a fact, after the February 3 2020 ruling, elections in Malawi will never be ‘business as usual’. Leadership and powers that be must bear in mind that ‘no one is above the law’.