Many Malawians are confused as to why we shouldn’t have the Tripartite General Elections next year in 2024. Why do we have to change our usual date of elections to 2025. The truth of the matter is that the 2020 Constitutional Court judges on presidential elections case erred. We understand that such anomalies do occur simply because judges are not infallible.
They are human beings who are also prone to error and bias.
Had it been that the 2020 constitutional court judges were not politically motivated, President Chakwera was supposed to lead Malawi for only four years in accordance with the Constitution of Malawi. It must be appreciated at this juncture that the main mandate of the Constitutional court is not to change the Constitution but to interpret and harmonise all sections of this supreme document of the land. In this article, we will go deeper into the constitution with a view of determining if the 2020 constitutional court verdict on 2019 presidential elections was congruent with the the Malawi Constitution. If it isn’t, then the judgment would be deemed dismally unconstitutional.
Firstly, Section 80 (1) of the Malawi Constitution stipulates that Presidential and parliamentary elections must be concurrently held together. The same Malawi Constitution, before any amendments, mandates the President and members of parliament to hold office up to five years.
If elections are to be held in 2025, some members of Parliament will hold on to their positions for six years contrary to the constitutional mandate of the office tenure of five years. It does not require a great philosopher to know that this anomaly is unconstitutional. Our judges dismally goofed. Their verdict is rendered consequentially unconstitutional.
It is against this background that Judge Twea bravely disagreed with other politically motivated judges. In the addendum of the 2020 Constitutional court judgment, Judge Twea argued that, after the nullification and invalidation of 2019 presidential elections, fresh presidential elections were supposed to be held within 90 days. Just as winners of parliamentary and local government by-elections only finish a term, so the winner of 2020 fresh presidential elections too, Dr. Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera, was supposed to lead Malawi for only 4 years which was not supposed to be counted as Chakwera’s term. In fact, Tripartite General elections were supposed to be held next year in 2024. If this was the case, President Chakwera had the potential of ruling this country for a maximum of 14 years. This was a lost opportunity for President Chakwera.
The truth of the matter is that many Malawians on the ground are looking forward to early general elections in 2024. Constitutionally, can this be possible? Why not?
The most plausible avenue to pursue is for the Supreme Court of Appeal to motivate itself by acknowledging its own anomalies and mistakes. It can swallow its own pride and come out in the open to override the previous anomalous and politically motivated verdicts.
The only viable correction to such errors is to pronounce that the Tripartite General Elections should be held next year in 2024. This decision will be like killing two birds with one stone. Firstly, it will accord Malawians with an early Tripartite General Elections in 2024. Secondly, President Chakwera will have a chance of ruling Malawi for a maximum of 14 years assuming that he can win all the two forthcoming general elections. In politics, almost everything is possible.