There is an air of euphoria sweeping across Malawi and the African continent following the Constitutional Court (ConCourt) ruling on Monday, February 3 2020, annulling the May 21 2019 presidential election. Fresh elections are expected to be held in within (150 days) five months.
In making the ruling, the panel of five judges highlighted the issue of widespread irregularities that the judges believe the May 21 2019 presidential election was not a true reflection of the will of the people and that President Peter Mutharika was unduly elected.
The ruling has also brought a bag of mixed feelings and reactions from legal experts, and all and sundry. There are those who agree with the ruling in its entirety, then there are others who agree with it but have reservations on some pronouncements the ConCourt made. And then there is another group that does not agree with the ruling at all—the types that call the ruling a “miscarriage of justice” and “an inauguration of the death of democracy”. Well, every Malawian is free to express his/her opinions.
In short, there has been celebrations in the opposition parties—UTM and Malawi Congress Party (MCP)—and a somber mood in the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) camp. It is expected.
In the moment of euphoria, it is very easy for one to lose focus and forget all the hardships one passed through to get to this moment. It is becoming quite clear that some political party followers from the opposition side do not understand the true meaning and significance of the February 3 2020 ConCourt ruling.
For starters, the ruling is not about the leaders—Saulos Chilima and Lazarus Chakwera—that took the matter to the court. It is a ruling for all Malawians, regardless of their political affiliation. The ruling, like I alluded to in my last week’s entry, will change the political landscape forever. It will never be politics as usual. In this case, it is important to know that both Chilima and Chakwera were mere agents of that change. They have to be applauded for their bravery and for standing in the gap.
If their messages on the podiums are anything to go by, both Chilima and Chakwera are fighting a common enemy and have one goal—to rescue Malawi from the jaws of corrupt and greedy politicians who have messed up this country. I, therefore, feel the backbiting, political banter and jostling by some party followers is unfortunate and unnecessary. Chilima has on several occasions hinted on working with others, I pray he is being sincere. Malawians have been given second chance to change the course of this country. There is need for leaders to be sober and level-headed in these few months before elections and going forward, before this chance slips right through their fingers.
This elation witnessed from the day the ConCourt made its ruling, will be short-lived if political leaders and their followers do not fix their eyes on the ultimate goal—fixing the country’s economic, social and political spheres. As for the advisers to these leaders, please do not mislead them. Do not make the leaders too pompous and think they are bigger than Malawi. They are not, and will never be bigger than Malawi. For once, do the right thing.