Lilongwe, 6 February, 2020
LET’S MOVE ON-LET IT BE A LEGAL NOT POLITICAL BATTLE
Finally, the judgment day came and has passed! The Constitutional Court delivered its ruling on the landmark presidential election case on Monday February 3, 2020.
History has been made! The May 21, 2019 Presidential elections have been nullified!
The Center for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (CDEDI) would like to salute the judiciary for living up to the billing! The judges have demonstrated their independence and trustworthiness.
Secondly, CDEDI is commending Malawians for maintaining peace, law and order. This, to us is a clear manifestation that Malawi’s democracy has grown of age. The citizens have shown the world that they are one people of a united nation. Politics is but a competition of ideas! In the same vein we would like to appeal to Malawians to continue this path of peace, unity and co-existence as we await the relevant duty bearers to fully effect all that is contained in the ruling.
Thirdly, we would like to thank political party leaders for striving to ensure that the ruling should not divide us further. We would like to specifically commend great leadership qualities displayed by the Malawi Congress Party (MCP) President Dr. Lazarus Chakwera and UTM President Dr. Saulos Chilima by coming out in the open to address their supporters in particular and Malawians in general. Among other things the two preached peace and unity prior, during and after the landmark ruling. Most importantly they appealed to their supporters to accept the ruling and move on.
After the ruling we also saw Chakwera and Chilima addressing their supporters on the need for peace, law and order. This is great statesmanship. CDEDI would also like to pat one lady Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Secretary General Grezeder Jeffrey on the back for rising to the occasion when her boss decided to shy away from the people! She preached for peace law and order. Bravo madam Jeffrey!
CDEDI also welcomes President Peter Mutharika’s special address delivered on Wednesday February 5, 2020 where he joined Chakwera and Chilima in appealing for peace law and order. That is the way to go in a democratic dispensation.
This augurs well with our Accept and move on campaign.
CDEDI would like to reiterate its stand on the need for our political party leaders to rise above petty party politics and bury their hatches to put the interests of ordinary Malawians first. It is against this background that we are urging politicians to desist from acts and sentiments deemed retribution and vengeance and making careless sentiments with intentions to instigate anger.
LESSONS FROM THE RULING
The judiciary is independent and it has earned the trust it deserves, other public institutions should follow suit.
Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) failed to manage the elections according to the law.
CRITICAL AREAS THAT NEED FURTHER ATTENTION AND TO BE DEBATED ON
The role of the international observers; are they relevant?
The ruling has reduced the public trust people had in incumbent President Peter Mutharika therefore resigning at the point is the only noble thing to do.
The ruling is a vote of no confidence to MEC Chairperson Jane Ansah and indeed the whole commission.
The court ruling not a panacea to the political impasse Malawi is experiencing. Politicians and other relevant stakeholders should move on.
The recommendation by the Constitutional Court for Malawi to have in place the 50+1 system of electing the country’s president should serve as a lesson to all political party leaders to consider forming alliances that have the interest of the people first, and not for selfish political interests. As CDEDI, we believe such political alliances have the potential to unite and heal the country which is currently experiencing regional and tribal demarcations.
OUR OBSERVATIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
CDEDI is of the view that Malawi needs to discuss and come up with a constitutional provision that provides for a transitional framework that would have proven handy in a situation we have found ourselves in as far as the court ruling is concerned.
The ruling has eroded the public’s trust on MEC Chair Jane Ansah, MEC Chief Elections Officers (CEO) Sam Alfandika and all the commissioners, CDEDI therefore demands that these people should gracefully resign.
Malawi needs intensive civic and voter education in the next 146 days from the day the ruling was delivered.
President Mutharika in his address monitored on the public broadcaster said he is challenging the landmark constitutional court ruling, we welcome such a bold decision since that is within the realm of the law and his constitutional right.
However, much as we appreciate that democracy is not cheap, in the interest of transparency and accountability CDEDI would like to ask Mutharika who is currently state president to come out clear on financing mechanisms by providing proof and relevant evidence as to who is going to foot the bills, is it State House? Is it his DPP, from his own pockets, or indeed from government coffers? In short as citizens we are entitled to interrogate the duty bearers’ actions since they availed themselves to serve us.
CDEDI is urgently in need of such information for a simple reason that currently Malawi is riddled with a number of challenges including hunger which is forcing a lot of people to survive on pumpkin leaves therefore, it would be highly insensitive to waste taxpayers’ money to serve personal, selfish and political interests and battles.
Listening to Mutharika a well-meaning individual would be forced to believe that he is bent to turn the case into a more of political than a legal battle.
OTHER EQUALLY IMPORTANT MATTERS OF NATIONAL IMPORTANCE
While we commend Malawians for maintaining peace law and order during the court ruling, CDEDI noted with great concern disturbing developments that happened in Biwi Township in Lilongwe where bodies of innocent Malawians were exhumed from undignified graves. This is both inhumane and barbaric! We would like to commend the police for zeroing in on this matter.
However, CDEDI is shocked to note that some criminal elements have decided to take the law into their hands by taking advantage of the situation to destroy and loot property and buildings belonging to our brothers and sisters from Rwanda and Burundi, this is theft it must be condemned in strongest terms. We would like to appeal to the police to arrest the perpetrators! Malawi has laws that ought to be followed and there is no justification whatsoever for someone to take the law in their hands to administer the same.
Surprisingly, these properties we are vandalizing include shops that do not only provide convenient shopping in our localities but have provided jobs to our own sisters and brothers over and above that they pay tax which government uses in its day to day running of social services! For once vetting our anger on innocent people won’t help matters if anything it will only worsen the situation.
AUDIO CONVERSATION BETWEEN DEPUTY MINISTER AND A JOURNALIST
CDEDI has learnt with regret about an audio that has gone viral on social media purportedly between Deputy Minister of Homeland Security Charles Mchacha who is also ruling DPP Regional Governor for the South and a journalist Bobby Kabango, we are ashamed that in this day and age a grown-up person would shower unprintable words to someone who is only fulfilling his oversight role.
CDEDI is therefore, appealing to Mchancha to honorably resign from cabinet and his position as DPP Regional Governor; failure to which we call upon President Mutharika to immediately relieve him of his duties.
CDEDI is a non-partisan, nongovernmental organization that was established in a quest to attain a well-informed and organized citizenry that can ably demand their social and economic rights at the same time hold duty bearers accountable for their actions.
Among many others CDEDI aims at sensitizing the masses on matters of national importance, inculcate the spirit of a peaceful coexistence among people of different ethnic, political and religious affiliations; provide civic education on people’s rights and responsibilities in economic independence and contribution towards national development and lobbying for the electoral law reforms.
CDEDI INTERIM EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR