Mutharika appeals overturn of election victory


Malawi President Peter Mutharika and the country’s electoral commission formally filed an appeal against a court ruling overturning Mutharika’s narrow election victory last year.

Last week, the Constitutional Court annulled the May vote that returned Mutharika as president. It cited “widespread, systematic and grave” irregularities, including result sheets with sections blotted out or altered with correction fluid.

“I can confirm the court received both appeals by first respondent (the president) and second respondent (electoral commission),” High Court Registrar Agnes Patemba told Reuters.

Mutharika denounced the ruling as “a serious subversion of justice, an attack on our democratic systems and an attempt to undermine the will of the people”.

The electoral commission argues the judgement was based on issues not raised in the original petitions by main opposition party leader Lazarus Chakwera and estranged Vice President Saulos Chilima.

Mutharika, president since 2014, won the election with a 38.57% share of the vote, with Chakwera getting 35.41% and Chilima, who formed his own party, with 20.24%.

Mutharika, a 79-year-old former law professor, managed to rein in rising prices of basic goods and improve roads and other infrastructure.

Critics accuse him of cronyism and failing to tackle graft in the southern African nation, frequently beset by drought and heavily dependent on foreign aid.