“European Union congratulates Dr Lazarus Chakwera on his swearing in as President of Malawi. His election followed a challenging period for the country, during which the respect for the constitution prevailed. Malawians participated actively in the elections, demonstrating their support for democratic institutions” reads issued by the European diplomacy statement.
“All political actors should now show leadership and pursue any disputes by legal and peaceful means in line with the traditions and practice of Malawi.
“We look forward to working with the new government of Malawi on an ambitious agenda of political dialogue and cooperation.
On Juin 27 Lazarus Chakwera, Malawi opposition leader, was declared the winner of a re-run presidential election, replacing incumbent Peter Mutharika’s discredited win 13 months earlier. For the majority of independent analysts the victory has been assessed as a triumph for democracy in Africa.
Chakwera, 65, secured the required majority, with 58.57% of the vote on Juin 23, the electoral commission said, winning over Mutharika. Chakwera won election to a five-year term as President of the nation of 18 million people.
“My victory is a win for democracy and justice. My heart is bubbling with joy,” Chakwera said after his win, which sparked wild late night celebrations on the streets of the capital Lilongwe, his stronghold.
A rerun of the 2019 election was ordered after the Constitutional Court found the ballot had been marred by widespread irregularities.
That election saw President Mutharika narrowly re-elected by fewer than 159,000 votes.
Mr Chakwera, who came second in that election, argued that tallying forms had been added up incorrectly and tampered with.
The opposition leader, a former cleric, heads up the opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP).
Born in Lilongwe to a subsistence farmer, the philosophy and theology graduate has pledged to raise the national minimum wage, among other reforms.
Tomorrow, on 23 June 2020, the Malawian people will vote in fresh presidential elections after a protracted but constitutionally determined process. Malawi has a distinguished history of promoting and consolidating inclusive democracy, including by ensuring full respect of the constitutional mandates of national institutions, the statement of the European External Actions Service (EEAS) spokesperson reads.
The European Union joins the African Union in calling upon the Malawi Electoral Commission, all political parties, candidates and their supporters to create conditions for a credible, inclusive, transparent and peaceful election and to refrain from any act of violence.
The European Union will work with all actors in Malawi and with its partners, in particular the United Nations and the African Union, in accompanying this democratic process.
In a unanimous decision Supreme Court upheld a previous court ruling that annulled President Peter Mutharika’s narrow election victory last year, the Malawi justice announced on Friday 8 May.
In its judgment on May 8, the Supreme Court said: “The various breaches undermined the duties of the Malawi Electoral Commission and grossly undermined rights of voters. None of the candidates obtained a majority.”
It added that the electoral commission should not have appealed, as doing so showed it was taking sides. Mutharika and the electoral commission later appealed the Constitutional Court decision.
Malawi is dependent on foreign aid and is frequently beset by drought which threatens the lives of thousands of people.
Former law professor Mutharika, president since 2014, oversaw infrastructure improvements and a slowdown in inflation in his first five-year term, but critics accuse him of failing to tackle endemic corruption.
The Constitutional Court in February cited “widespread, systematic and grave” irregularities when it annulled the vote that returned Mutharika to power last May.
A new election will now be held on July 2.
The European diplomacy reiterated its call for restraint to political actors in Malawi.
“It is especially important at this time that all political actors should stand united in the defence of human rights and Rule of Law, and against any acts of violence, incitement or hate speech” the EU spokesperson for the Foreign Affairs said, quoting a statement of the EU Mission in Malawi.
On May 6, being “shocked” and “saddened” by acts of violence the EU Mission in Malawi together with Norway, the United Kingdom, and the United States reacted upon the lamentable episodes, fuelled by political motives, hoping that those responsable would be brought to justice, following the transparent investigations in the frame of the Malawi law.
However the EU has no plans to send the observers for the possible presidential elections postponed to July 2. In general the European External Action Service (EEAS) has to re-asses the deployment of the Observation missions, but “in this case Malawi is not a part of the EU observation mission priority for 2020, the EU will not send the Election Observation Mission (EU EOM) for the re-run of the Presidential elections in Malawi” the spokesperson said commenting on the issue. She reminded that at present the issue of re-running of the presidential elections on the July 2 is examined by the Supreme court in the capital city Lilongwe, and the decision of the judges will “determine if the Presidential election will be or not repeated in July“, she added.
The Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) had declared President Peter Mutharika the narrow winner of the May election with 38% of votes, followed by Lazarus Chakwera with 35% and former Vice President Saulos Chilima third with 20%, while four other candidates collectively received of 6% of ballots.
Since the announcement of the election results almost a year ago, Malawi has experienced a wave of protests across the country demanding the resignation of Jane Ansah, the chairwoman of the MEC for allegedly mismanaging the elections. The Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) defended its managment of the process, being within the legal framework.
Ambassadors of the United Kingdom, The European Union, Norway, German, Ireland and the United States of America in Malawi released a joint statement on May 6.
They expressed concern over the violence which they said was fueled by political motives and led to injuries.
The development partners called on political actors in Malawi to stand united in the defence of human rights and rule of rule, and against acts of violence, incitement of violence or hate speech.
“We support those calling for restraint and hope that all cases of violence are investigated comprehensively and transparently in line with the laws of Malawi, so that those responsible can be brought to justice,” reads part of the statement.
Recently, there have been acts of violence against UTM members in the Southern Regions. On Monday night (May 4), a UTM office in Lilongwe was also torched by unknown assailants and eight people sustained burns.
The violence is happening as parties are campaigning ahead of the 2020 fresh presidential elections.
Supporters of Malawi’s opposition took to the streets of Blantyre on May 6 as their presidential candidate presented nomination papers for the July re-run of last year’s election. The outcome initially returned President Peter Mutharika to office, but the result was historically overturned in a landmark court ruling in February.
Malawi’s Constitutional Court has today ordered new Presidential elections.
“In the past months, Malawians have shown faith in the ongoing legal process and in their institutions. The European Union joins the calls made by the African Union and Southern African Development Community, addressed to all political leaders, to respect the ruling and use their influence to encourage its peaceful reception” reads the statement by the spokesperson of the European External Action Service, following the ruling of the Constitutional Court on the Presidential elections.
“The EU stands ready to accompany Malawi on the way ahead in view of preserving the unity and democratic credentials of the country, in cooperation with regional and international partners.
Malawi’s vice-president Saulos Chilima launched his own political party to run against the government in elections next year, persisting in his public criticism on President Peter Mutharika’s cabinet.
Chilima, 45, was handpicked Mutharika to run alongside him in 2014 on the Democratic People’s Party (DPP) ticket.
But Chilima quit the DPP last month citing corruption and nepotism.
Following mounting calls for him to run in the May 2019 vote, he launched the United Transformation Movement (UTM) in the capital Lilongwe, seeking to unseat the 79-year-old Mutharika.
“It is because of the rot that we are seeing all over that we are launching UTM,” Chilima said.
“We should not allow people to continue treating us like fools. Everyone should have a bright future regardless of where they come from or the political party they support.”
The ruling party has been plagued by calls from civil action groups for its leader to resign after a leaked report by the Anti-Corruption Bureau accused Mutharika of receiving a $195,000 (167,000 euros) kickback from a contract to supply food to the police.
Deadly mob attacks on people suspected to be “vampires” have led to 140 arrests in Malawi, police said.
The situation had spun out of control, the inspector general of police, Lexon Kachama, told. More arrests were expected.
Nine people have been killed in the attacks that began last month after rumors of “blood-suckers” spread. In the latest case, a man with epilepsy was burned to death in Blantyre, the southern African nation’s second-largest city, Kachama said. Another person there was stoned to death.
President Peter Mutharika has appealed for calm in the four districts where the mob attacks have taken place, saying this week that “my government will offer protection from these alleged blood-suckers.”
“The biggest challenge is that thieves and robbers have now taken advantage of the situation and are mounting illegal roadblocks at night in order to harass people,” Kachama said.
The United Nations and US Embassy have blacklisted some of the areas as dangerous zones for staffers.