On a bright, sunny morning of Sunday June 28th, Malawi's sixth President Lazarous Chakwera was sworn in after a landmark and historic battle by Malawians to reclaim their destiny. Following the announcement of the May 2019 presidential election results in favour of Democratic Progressive Party candidate Peter Mutharika, Malawians took to the streets to demand electoral justice. Chakwera who had run on a Malawi Congress Party ticket and UTM Party president Saulos Chilima contested the matter in court. On February 3, 2019, the Constitutional Court nullified Mutharika's win and their decision was cemented by a ruling of the Supreme Court of Appeal that declared with a finality that the incumbent was unduly elected. As we congratulate President Chakwera, let us in a special way thank and remember the following:
1. Mr Timothy Mtambo and the HRDC-The HRDC gurus and Mr Mtambo in particular risked their lives, property and family. They were the real catalyst for change and helped in persuading the court to deliver judgement in favour of the will of people.
2. Chief Justice Andrew Nyirenda and The Judiciary. His Lordship Nyirenda in his own reasoning, accepted the cases presented before the courts to be consolidated and be heard by a panel of High Court Judges that he set. The judges delivered the judgement in favour of the will of Malawians and the whole African continent respects the Malawi Judiciary. Chief Justice Andrew Nyirenda has been attacked left centre and right but he has upheld the Malawi Constitution. The judiciary can also be said to have been the genesis of the Tonse Alliance by ordering the consolidated of the cases. Who knows what Chakwera and Chilima were discussing under the tree as they sat outside the courts!
3. General Nundwe and the MDF-While the Malawi Police and DPP cadets were molesting and attacking protesters, the MDF under General Nundwe were the custodians of Malawians. Our MDF deserves much respect.
4. Mordecai Msisha SC and all the lawyers for opposition political parties aka the petitioners-These lawyers went through a lot. But at long last, they won the case. It wasn't easy.
5. Saulos Chilima and all the Tonse Alliance leaders-It's not easy for someone who is already a country Vice President to accept being vice president again to someone who is just an MP. Chilima put the love for country first. He showed humbleness and humility. He campaigned tirelessly. All the Tonse Alliance leaders, also fought a good battle campaigning day and night while someone was just staying idle somewhere and expecting to win.
6. President Elect Dr Lazarus Chakwera-He has shown how much of a team leader he is. He accepted every jim and jack to work with him for the betterment of Malawi.
7. Malawians-The Malawians who demonstrated deserve a special mention. Previous governments have taken advantage of the people's 'fear of demonstrations' to oppress the masses. This time around, Malawians showed they had had enough by unrelentingly holding demonstrations and vigils to demand electoral justice.
8. Deputy Speaker of Parliament Kazombo and Kezzie Msukwa-In its ruling the court ordered Malawi's Parliament to set the election date, but the Democratic Progressive Party appeared to be dragging its feet. But with the clock ticking to hold the elections by June 23, Msukwa, the legal affairs committee chairperson moved a motion to waive the order paper to facilitate the setting of the elections date. Yeremiah Chihana swiftly moved a motion to discuss the date, a development Leader of the House Kondwani Nankhumwa (who now moves to the opposition benches) was opposed to. Kazombo agreed and passed the motion and the election date was set.
9. Mirriam Gwalidi, Daudi Suleman, Peter Lackson and Anthony Bendulo - Gwalidi was the only female witness in the presidential election case, she stood tall and confidently told the court what she saw. Suleman and his colleagues' evidence on the use of technology and the tampering of the MEC's electoral management system proved very pivotal in determining the results of the case.
10. Justice Chifundo Kachale-He had 16 days to deliver a free, fair and credible election in accordance with the ruling of the courts. Well, he did it, in the process restoring the hope and belief of Malawians in the electoral system. When asked to rate the performance of his Commission he said Malawians will be the best judges. He even took time to thank his predecessor for having already laid the foundation
Congratulations to all Malawians for the victory is all ours