By Burnett Munthali
First, there is every reason for supporters of a winning President to take to the streets to celebrate the victory in any given Presidential election.
However, it is unfortunate that on the planet called Africa the Supreme Courts have taken centre stage to rule that a particular candidate was properly or wrongly elected president. This is because African politicians take issues to court to resolve matters of elections even when they don’t have sufficient evidence.
It is now becoming fashionable that the losing candidates seek to annul the result of each and every election.
The losing candidates always allege that there had been massive rigging.
Second, I am impressed with the ruling made in Kenya on Monday 5 Sept during which the judges said some of the petitioners had falsified evidence. I am impressed mainly because it has taught our judiciary that the Kenyan judiciary was not used to make a false judgement basing on fake or forged evidence which, in a country like Malawi with the level of corruption that we have, could have been a different verdict altogether.
Third, it is possible for elections to be fought and contested tightly against main presidential candidates as was the case in 2019. We have just seen this happening in the Kenyan election in 2022. A tight race is just very possible.
Fourth, Malawi must learn from Kenya that winning President in Kenya was put on hold and could not be sworn in as the country’s fifth president next week, meaning to say that the country has waited for justice to prevail first.
The election which took place in August has finally been concluded in September after which the swearing in ceremony can now take place. The President waited. Kenyans have managed to wait and are a capable people who can wait patiently for justice. No violent protests, I believe, took place in due course to inflict fear and psychological panic to the judges before during or after passing judgement.
Fifth lesson for Malawi is that following the ruling, Mr Ruto is ready to work with his political opponents.
Sixth, the Kenyan judiciary and the electoral commission must be commended for upholding the election results as they were based on merit and nothing else but merit. It appears to me corruption has not taken full control of the whole process, and if it has, I will not hesitate to retract this statement in my future analysis.
Seventh, the fact that the current deputy president, Mr Ruto was not supported by the outgoing President, Uhuru Kenyatta, who instead campaigned for his former rival, Mr Odinga is testimony that promises and agreements can be made and broken by politicians.
They happen everywhere and they can happen even here in Malawi but what is needed is to remain calm and stay focused. If the chances of ruling a country are there for you, nobody can take that away from you, no matter how much money is spent or not to win voters. Finally, the people make their final decision.
Eight, winning Presidents in Malawi must ensure their government takes care of their predecessors after retirement because we all need to rest after working. There is need for our leadership to consult each other in order that the nation may move forward. Leaders must avoid bruising each other too much to an extent of creating enmity because it won’t help Malawi at all.
Nine, only the professional, fair and unbiased judgements by our courts will be respected and followed by Malawians. When corruption plays a role in our judiciary when handling such high profile cases, the respect that the courts deserve as the third arm of government won’t be there and the impartiality that they keep preaching won’t reach home.
Ten, the process of handing over power from one President to another must be learned from Kenyans. A smooth transition to the next administration, must be part of Malawian politics but for all this to happen, we must plant the seeds of mature politics and language now.
The eleventh lesson is that it does not matter how many petitions are used to challenge an election but the validity of each petition is what matters most. The courts must find the truth in each and every petition brought before them at any cost and non matter how much it costs.
The twelfth lesson is that Malawi is still lagging behind on issues of how to handle elections. In this age we must move forward and go for electronic voting transmission system and benefit from it rather going for the old manual system.
Thirteen, I have admired how the Kenyans have avoided a repeat of previous outbreaks of election violence.
And most importantly, we should learn that to win any court case, one needs to have valid evidence. All political parties in Malawi must learn how to gather evidence for any court case to be successful.
Fourteen, the courts must be fully convinced that the claims of any election rigging are sufficient to undermine the election not otherwise.
The judges must work tirelessly leaving no stone unturned in search of justice, not the selective justice that is prevailing in our midst.
Fifteen, our lawyers and petitioners must file their arguments based on valid documents in court. Our barristers must remain professional and not part of the fake evidence and fake argument.
Finally, sometimes we are just there to lose every election and never to lead this country no matter how hard we try, no matter how many attempts we make. Some politicians will never becomes President of this country and they just have to accept the kind of equation. Some leaders will just die trying. Just accept it!
Disclaimer: The views expressed expressed in the article are those of the author not necessarily of The Maravi Post or Editor