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World Could Malawi's historic re-run election inspire Africa?

06:40  05 july  2020
06:40  05 july  2020 Source:   msn.com

In Malawi, the ruling party judges Tuesday's presidential election "inconclusive"

 In Malawi, the ruling party judges Tuesday's presidential election © Jean Michel CORNU Map of Malawi The ruling party in Malawi judges this week's presidential election "inconclusive", calling for a new one vote by evoking irregularities and intimidation. Voters in this southern African country went to the polls on Tuesday for the second time in 13 months after the Constitutional Court canceled the 2019 presidential election for fraud.

Voting was peaceful in Malawi as people took part in a re - run poll five months after President Peter Mutharika' s disputed 2019 victory was annulled. The country' s judiciary has been widely praised for its robust response. Malawi became the second African nation to annul a presidential election over

Main content. Listen now. Malawi awaits results from historic re - run election . Africa Today. The results will not be declared for several days. Could the Gambia become the next African country to have a female head of state? We hear from Marie Sock who will run for the State House next year.

The opposition triumph in Malawi's recent landmark election re-run after last year's fraudulent polls were overturned could spur similar democratic change across the continent, analysts and historians say.

a group of people riding on the back of a car: Opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) leader and now president, Lazarus Chakwera (L) came to power after a rerun election © GIANLUIGI GUERCIA Opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) leader and now president, Lazarus Chakwera (L) came to power after a rerun election

Lazarus Chakwera of the Malawi Congress Party comfortably won the June 23 election with 58.5% of the vote -- beating Peter Mutharika, whose re-election last year was nullified by the courts over "widespread and systematic" irregularities.

Chakwera's official inauguration is set for Monday, to coincide with the country's 56th anniversary of independence from Britain.

Lazarus Chakwera, from the priesthood to the presidency

 Lazarus Chakwera, from the priesthood to the presidency © AMOS GUMULIRA The opponent Lazarus Chakwera, new president of Malawi, June 20, 2020 The opponent Lazarus Chakwera, proclaimed Saturday evening winner of the replayed presidential election in Malawi, is a former evangelical pastor who claims to have responded to God's call to enter politics. Since 2013 he has chaired the Malawi Congress Party (MCP), the former single party which ruled the country from 1964 to 1994 during the reign of Hastings Banda. Mr.

A re - run of the May 2019 election was ordered by Malawi ' s Constitutional Court in February after judges found widespread irregularities with the original ballot. That election saw President Mutharika narrowly re- elected by less than 159,000 votes with a 38.6% share of the vote.

Voting was peaceful in Malawi as people took part in a re - run poll five months after President Peter Human trials for a Covid-19 vaccine developed by Oxford University are beginning in South Africa . (Photo: A woman listens to an electoral official explain how she can select and mark a candidate at

The election set the impoverished African country apart from many on the continent, making it only the second sub-Saharan African country to have presidential election results overturned in court, after Kenya in 2017.

It was also the first time in Africa that an election re-run has led to the defeat of an incumbent.

The unprecedented political feat was credited to a cohesion of several powerful forces -- including the resilience of the judiciary that handed down the historic judgement.

In extraordinary scenes, Constitutional Court judges came sporting bullet-proof jackets and under military escort to deliver the ruling on February 3 overturning Mutharika's re-election.

That was after six months of hearing evidence during a groundswell of civic society-led street protests.

Malawi opposition leader wins presidential election re-run

  Malawi opposition leader wins presidential election re-run Malawi opposition leader wins presidential election re-runChakwera, 65, secured the required majority, with 58.57% of the vote on Tuesday, the electoral commission said, beating Mutharika. Chakwera won election to a five-year term as president of the nation of 18 million people.

Malawi ' s opposition leader Lazarus Chakwera has won the country's rerun presidential vote, officials say. Other countries in Africa have had elections annulled - it happened in Kenya a few years ago - but for the That election saw President Mutharika narrowly re - elected by fewer than 159,000 votes.

The Malawi Human Right Commission, one of the observers, has said the election was peaceful It was just the second time in Africa that a court has overturned a presidential election , following a “Sadly, as all Malawians have seen, this election is the worst in Malawi ’ s history of our elections

"For a year they persevered with mass demonstrations against the wanton theft of their votes despite threats and repression by the beleaguered and discredited government," said historian Paul Tiyambe Zeleza.

The election result showed that despite the power of incumbency, an organised and smart opposition can win, Zeleza said.

"This election will certainly influence subsequent elections across the African continent," said Grant Masterson, programme manager at the Johannesburg-based Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa (EISA).

He expects that elsewhere on the continent "opposition leaders will become emboldened by this success... and ramp up post-election protests against results that did not go in their favour, combined with court challenges."

Opposition leaders from neighbouring countries are drawing inspiration, hailing the "professionalism" displayed by Malawian institutions and "citizens' vigilance".

Africa Cup will be postponed to January 2022

 Africa Cup will be postponed to January 2022 The Africa Cup has been postponed for one year due to the coronavirus pandemic and is now to be held in Cameroon in January 2022, the African football confederation CAF announced. © Photo: Gehad Hamdy / dpa The Africa Cup was postponed by one year. The tournament was originally scheduled to run from January 9 to February 6, 2021. The exact dates for the final tournament and the qualifying matches are not yet known.

The lawyer who represented Malawi ' s new president Lazarus Chakwera in annulling the last election has turned down the post of justice minister, according to Mordecai Msiska was the lead lawyer in the case that annulled the presidential election in December. Mr Chakwera went on to win the re - run of

Malawi became the second African nation to annul a presidential election over irregularities, after Kenya in 2017. A re - run of the May 2019 election was ordered by Malawi ' s Constitutional Court in February after judges found widespread irregularities with the original ballot.

- 'Example for Africa' -

Nelson Chamisa, Zimbabwe's main opposition Movement for Democratic Change-Alliance (MDC-A) leader, failed in his legal bid to have the courts overturn the 2018 election which he said was stolen from him by President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

He saluted Malawi's judiciary and security services "for acting as a bulwark against authoritarianism and defending the constitution".

The election is "a source of inspiration to democrats across Africa and a reminder to those with determined leadership, people power, unity of purpose and an undying commitment to democratic values, that no barrier is insurmountable," said Chamisa in a congratulatory message to Chakwera.

Zambia's main opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema, who has lost two consecutive elections, hailed Malawians for having "set a great example for Africa!"

Masterson said Malawi "reminds us that even in the most peaceful of countries, the citizenry will only tolerate so much before they raise their voice in protest".

"When enough citizens stand up, in Malawi, or Sudan and elsewhere, they will eventually bring about change," he said.

Nic Cheeseman, a professor of African democracy at the University of Birmingham agreed.

"The impressive performance of key institutions, and the country's democratic progress itself, is rooted in the hard work of civil society groups and the efforts of hundreds of thousands of Malawian citizens," Cheeseman said.

Chakwera, the 65-year-old former evangelical preacher, sailed to victory thanks to a nine-party electoral alliance.

Opposition elsewhere in Africa should learn that "dialogue, not division, can offer a genuine path to change, especially in those countries with less favourable institutional conditions," wrote Chatham House's Africa programme projects assistant, Fergus Kell.

"Neighbouring Zambia would certainly do well to heed this example ahead of a pivotal election of its own in 2021."

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Malawi president defends cabinet appointments after backlash .
Malawi President Lazarus Chakwera on Friday fired back at critics over the choice of his maiden cabinet which they said was tainted by family ties, insisting that the appointments were based purely on merit. The newly-elected president was reacting to public outrage that ensued on Thursday when Chakwera unveiled a 31-member cabinet which included six figures who are related to each other, although not to the president. "The only thing thatThe newly-elected president was reacting to public outrage that ensued on Thursday when Chakwera unveiled a 31-member cabinet which included six figures who are related to each other, although not to the president.

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