“As I leave Malawi, I call for peace and order as people anticipate the court ruling. I know the situation is tense, but there is need to preserve social order and cohesion,” the Envoy was quoted by local media as saying at her farewell dinner in Lilongwe, attended by Mary Navicha, Malawi’s Minister of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare.
Navicha said the Ambassador was “Malawi’s truly ally…we will always cherish the three years you have been here in Malawi and worked with us, not forgetting the timely support you gave us during natural disasters and also promotion of agriculture and education sectors.”
Malawi has been in a political impasse since the controversial May 21 tripartite poll, in which the opposition led by UTM and MCP petitioned the constitutional court to nullify the presidential vote only won by President Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika.
Saulos Chilima of UTM and MCP’s Lazarus Chakwera claim that MEC rigged the poll in favour of Mutharika.
The constitutional court, sitting in Lilongwe since August 8, will hear final submissions from all contesting parties on December 19 and 20, before it makes its determination which chair of the five member judge panel, Justice Healy Potani, says will be based on applicable law and the constitution and not on “public opinion.”
The public opinion, boosted by demos orchestrated by the Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC), which demanded the resignation of MEC Chair Justice Jane Ansah, largely thinks the vote was tippexed and stolen in favour of Mutharika, who beat Chakwera by 159,000 votes.
Mutharika himself, who is defending the case as second respondent through his lawyer Frank Mbeta, has repeatedly said he won the poll with clean votes.