“Annulment of the 2019 Polls sets a bad precedent” – President Mutharika
The path to the Fresh election has been full of twists and jaw-dropping moments. The major players have been the courts, MEC and candidates in the streets campaigning all in a stressed Covi-19 era. At this point in time, it is President Mutharika whose comments have induced furthered debate into the Malawian case.
In his State of the Nation Address (SONA), delivered via recorded video, Mutharika made various comments concerning the disputed and resultantly annulled 2019 election which he maintains he won. President Mutharika made it clear that he still believes the election should not have been annulled as there wasn’t significant cause to do so. In not so many words, he also called on Parliament to not follow all the directives of the courts as the courts can ‘err.’
Following this belief, he considers the courts to have set a bad precedent for all coming elections (possibly beyond Malawi?). “We have set a precedence when your election as Members of Parliament can be nullified just because a well-meaning officer tried to correct a mistake using tippex…,” he said. The logic here is that all elections that come after this annulment will be liable to challenges based on the 2019 termination. The question is whether this is a bad or progressive thing as the court’s judgment tries to ensure better elections for all through improving integrity and credibility.
Should an election be nullified for qualitative or quantitative reasons or maybe a triangulation of both?