Presidential rerun like Malawi?

Lawyer Amanda Clinton Lawyer Amanda Clinton Esq, Author

Mon, 28 Dec 2020 Source: Lawyer Amanda Clinton Esq

Malawi is only the second African country to annul a presidential election, after Kenya in 2017. It is the first in which the opposition has won the re-run.

The initial May 2019 vote had narrowly returned incumbent Peter Mutharika to the presidency. But in February 2020 a landmark ruling by Malawi’s constitutional court annulled the result citing ‘widespread, systematic and grave’ irregularities, including the now-infamous use of corrective fluid in vote tallying, and the Malawi Electoral Commission’s (MEC) failure to address complaints before announcing results. New elections were ordered within 150 days.

This lead to the Opposition winning a rerun of Malawi's presidential election in a historic first on the continent.

Rockson-Nelson Dafeamekpor, a member of the NDC’s legal team and legislator, said the NDC is putting its documents together and will file a case at various courts by Dec. 30.

Akufo-Addo allegedly polled 51.59 percent of the valid presidential votes as against his main contender and former president John Dramani Mahama, who allegedly obtained 47.36 percent of the presidential votes.

It will be interesting to see if the NDC’s case leads to a 3rd landmark ruling on the continent given the admission by our Electoral Commission of anomalies they corrected in relation to the elections. Perhaps a case will be presented by the NDC in relation to more anomalies that cannot be overlooked by our courts. The only thing that will lead to a presidential and some parliamentary reruns in Ghana is ‘widespread, systematic and grave’ irregularities, and the Ghanaian Electoral Commission’s failure to address complaints before announcing results.’ In such a case, our judiciary will have no other option but to call for a new presidential election and possible parliamentary reruns within 150 days of their decision.

Although the appointment of 11 Supreme Court judges by Mr Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo in the last 2 years would be enough to make any political party think twice about seeking redress from the Supreme Court in Ghana; the NDC's case in relation to the elections may well test whether, if there is a case to answer in terms of widespread systematic and grave irregularities, our judges will have to rule accordingly.

Columnist: Lawyer Amanda Clinton Esq