MDC leader, Nelson Chamisa, has commended Malawi’s Constitutional Court for overturning that country’s controversial election, which was held in May last year.
Chamisa contends that the 2018 Zimbabwe election was rigged in favour of the ruling Zanu PF, said where institutions retained independence it was possible to correct ‘wrong politics.’
In August 2018, the MDC lodged a challenge at the Constitutional Court citing theft and fraud but their claims were rejected, as the nine-member bench led by Chief Justice Luke Malaba ruled that the rigging allegations were “bold and unsubstantiated.”
But in Malawi, in their first election to be legally challenged since the country’s independence in 1964, judges from the Constitutional Court found that there were widespread irregularities and said fresh elections should be held within 151 days.
Malawi’s election had seen President Peter Mutharika narrowly re-elected resulting in regular anti-government protests since the poll.
In court, lawyers for the losing candidates said a correction fluid – known by brand name Tipp-Ex, was used on some tallying forms sent in by polling stations, citing these changes were made after party agents had signed the forms.
However, Mutharika is to stay in power until new elections take place.
Commenting on Malawi’s court’s decision, Chamisa extended congratulations to Malawians for the “historic verdict of their judiciary, which showed courage to nullify the rigged election.”
He commended the judiciary and security services for standing firm in defence of their Constitution, saying the ruling gave the citizens in that country hope.
“It’s a reminder that where institutions retain independence and professionalism it is possible to correct wrong politics. For too long our continent has been plagued by the scourge of unfair elections. It gives hope to see court’s checks and controls curtailing capture and abuse, Chamisa said.
The MDC leader said Malawians now have a fresh opportunity, “courtesy of the courage and wisdom” demonstrated by their judges and support of key institutions, to hold fair elections. “Lest we forget, we here in Zimbabwe have an outstanding matter – the legitimacy of the rigged 2018 election.”
He also urged regional blocs, the SADC and African Union to draw key lessons from Malawi and not rush to endorse sham elections where people have legitimate concerns over processes.
“SADC and the AU as institutions of resort deserve a renewal and re-orientation to defend African people’s interests. The generation that rigs elections by violence, manipulation of state institutions, corruption, TIPPEX, EXCEL scandals and dictatorial tendencies by men from the past must be put a stop. Justice demands the young generation to lead the way. Let us build a new Africa!” Chamisa said.