Today at 6.15am, I called the President-elect, Prof. Arthur Peter Mutharika, who has since been sworn in as the 5th President of the Republic of Malawi. I called to congratulate him and to wish him well.
As you all know we had been given a hearing at the High Court in Blantyre yesterday. Three issues were presented for determination by the Court:-
1. Whether the injunction that had been obtained by Hon. Friday Jumbe preventing MEC from conducting a recount was valid. The court ordered that the injunction was wrongly obtained and discharged the injunction.
2. The court was asked to rule whether MEC had the power to order a recount and the court decided that MEC had the power to do anything that it needs to do to arrive at a free and fair result and that includes a recount of ballots.
3. On whether MEC could postpone the announcement of results beyond the 8 days period the court ruled that the 8 day period ought to be reviewed because it can lead to injustice. The court lamented the predicament it found itself in but nonetheless said the period of 8 days could not be extended.
We thus found ourselves in a situation where the court said a recount which MEC said had to be done to arrive at a credible result had to be done in one and half hours.
In making the announcement the Chairman of MEC stated that “some of the Commissioners of MEC had expressed reservations at some of the results as received by MEC” but stated that the due process that had been followed did not allow them to satisfy themselves by way of a recount. He stated that the rule of law compelled them to announce the results and as Commissioners they had to obey the law.
We are aware that it was not just some of the Commissioners but the majority, seven out of ten that expressed reservations at the determination. In fact the 7 Commissioners issued a communique to the effect that they could not make a determination without a recount of the ballots of the Presidential Vote.
We find ourselves therefore in a position where on MEC’s own admission the result of Presidential vote is flawed but they are compelled to announce it and on that basis the President of Malawi declared.
This is a very sad situation where our democracy and the will of the people of Malawi are held to ransom by virtue of some technical phrase of law that says the result must be given in 8 days regardless of glaring fraud and irregularities.
We are aware that the result announced yesterday can be challenged and in fact it ought to be challenged but to what effect and for what benefit to the Malawian people.
The institutions put in place to safeguard our democracy, MEC and the Judiciary, have confirmed their inadequacies. We have always believed that to every wrong there must be a remedy but our experiences since May 20 tell us otherwise.
It is therefore with the heaviest of hearts that I wish to thank all the supporters of the MCP and all people of good will who supported our cause, in cash, counsel and prayers.
It was and remains a good cause.
In eight months we ran a formidable campaign that gave hope to many Malawians that a truly transformative development agenda was possible. We stuck to our values. And we have no regrets.
Are we disappointed?? Yes!! Are we discouraged?? No!! We believe we did not lose.
The systems failed us and all this happened in full view of all Malawians and the world. And we believe that Malawians would still have loved to know what really happened.
We now bow to the reality of the present situation and say let us move on. Let us keep peace. There can only be one President at a time.
It is my hope that when history comes to judge me, the Chakwera campaign and what happened in this election pertaining to the declaration of the Presidential winner it will judge us kindly.
We congratulate and wish the new President well. We pray for him and our country and may God continue to bless Malawi and keep it a land of peace.
God bless you all.
Dr Lazarus Chakwera – May 31st 2014