The Oasis Reporters
June 28, 2020
Lazarus Chakwera’s new position now would be the stuff of legendary envy to people like Raila Odinga in Kenya and Atiku Abubakar in Nigeria.
Lazarus Chakwera mounted a challenge against the presidential election held in Malawi by going to court because the incumbent president had won the presidential poll and a spin off from that victory
street protests, and the country’s Supreme court nullified it and ordered a rerun which was won by Lazarus Chakwera, a cleric.
This Malawi’s historic rerun of the presidential election, marks the first time a court-overturned vote in Africa has led to the defeat of an incumbent leader.
Lazarus Chakwera’s victory was a result of months of determined street protests and a unanimous constitutional court decision that the May 2019 vote had widespread irregularities and could not stand.
Chakwera won with 2.6 million votes out of 4.4 million cast.
Outgoing president Peter Mutharika, who had sought a second five-year term, called the new election flawed, but he has urged the country to “move on peacefully.”
Malawi’s president on Saturday called the historic rerun of the presidential election “the worst in Malawi’s history” but urged the country to move on peacefully as it awaited official results of a vote the opposition eventually won.
Meanwhile, members of the Presidential Guard provided security for opposition candidate Lazarus Chakwera, as he began leading in the results.
President Peter Mutharika, in his first public comments since Tuesday’s vote, asserted that his party’s election monitors had been beaten and intimidated into staying away from their work.
“Strangely, the Malawi Electoral Commission has dismissed our complaints because our monitors were not there to report irregularities,” he told reporters. He did not take questions.
A court overturned the original election last year won by Mutharika, citing widespread irregularities, including the use of correction fluid on ballots. It was just the second time in Africa that a court has overturned a presidential election, following a ruling on Kenya’s vote in 2017. The first one in Kenya saw a few killings of crucial election witnesses and a few judges fleeing the country.
A court challenge mounted after Nigeria’s presidential election in 2019 by the PDP and it’s candidate, Atiku Abubakar suffered at the courts.
More than six million Malawians went to the polls in the election rerun.
Peter Mutharika who had wanted a second and final five-year term had urged his people to unite and “take this country forward instead of taking it backward,” he said Saturday, urging people to respect the presidency.
Malawi’s founding president, Dr. Kamuzu Banda had ruled the poor African country with an iron fist before he was finally removed from office in the first free and fair election by the then opposition candidate.
In Malawi’s first multiparty elections, held on 17 May 1994, Bakili Muluzi and his UDF party defeated Banda and his ruling MCP.