By Duncan Mlanjira
African Union Commission’s chairperson, Moussa Faki Mahamat has urged all Malawian stakeholders including political parties and their supporters, to uphold the rule of law before, during and following the Constitutional Court’s verdict to be delivered on Monday February 3 at the High Court in Lilongwe.
Mahamat, while congratulating the people of Malawi for largely peaceful conduct during the Constitutional Court proceedings, says AU Is closely following all developments in Malawi.
In a press release issued on Saturday, February 1, the chairperson expresses AU’s commitment to working closely with the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the leaders of the region, and to support their efforts.
“In this regard, the African Union associates itself with the statement made by HE Emmerson Mnangagwa, President of the Republic of Zimbabwe and chairperson of the SADC organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation, on behalf of SADC,” Mahamat said.
In the SADC statement, Mnangagwa also SADC urged all stakeholders in Malawi to respect the judgement of the Constitutional Court and to remain calm and maintain peace and order during and after the delivery of the verdict.
Mnangagwa also commended the political parties involved in the court petition for pursuing peaceful and legal mechanisms in order to resolve the electoral dispute.
SADC also condemned the actions by some sections of the Malawian community, who resorted to acts of violence, intimidation and vandalism, as a way of expressing their dissatisfaction with the outcome of the Tripartite Election.
Mnangagwa also said in the preliminary statement by the SADC observer mission issued on May 23, 2019 noted that the pre-election and voting phases of the elections were conducted in a “generally peaceful atmosphere, based on the SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Election”.
In a national address made on January 24, 2020 by one of the Constitutional Court petitioners, Malawi Congress Party President Dr. Lazarus Chakwera to mark 250 days since the eve of May 21 election day, he also urged Malawians to rise to that occasion and accept, respect, support and uphold the ruling.
“Let us resolve to welcome the ruling with open arms as a foundation on which we can begin the work of rebuilding our nation and reconciling with each other.
“After all, we have no other nation to call our home than Malawi and no other people to call our own than each other. And I, for one, would never trade it for any other on earth,” he had said.
South Africa-based Prophet Shepherd Bushiri, leader of Enlightened Christian Gathering (ECG) church, also appealed for peace and calm to Malawians.
The ECG leader asked political leaders — both from government and the opposition — to scale up messages of preparing their respective followers to accept the verdict of the court.
He said that whatever direction the ruling may take, even those that will make an appeal, should do so without stirring emotions of the nation.
Meanwhile, Malawi Police Service maintains its measures it has set that advises motorists and pedestrians to avoid the High Court area but to follow the court proceedings through live broadcast on their radios and televisions at home or offices.
A statement from national Police Public Relations Officer, Senior Superintendent James Kadadzera roads leading to the High Court will be closed and these are Likuni Roundabout to Lilongwe Town Hall Roundabout (Glyn Jones); Lilongwe Hotel to Lilongwe Golf Club (Tsilanana) and Mtunthama Road past the High Court itself to Lilongwe Golf Club (Likuni bus stop).
The roads shall be closed from 06:00hrs till 18:00hrs, says the statement.
Security will also be enhanced on all members of the public who have been allowed to attend court session and accredited by the Registrar of the High Court to access the High Court through the Lilongwe District Commissioner’s office entrance.
Access to court premises will only be on production of a valid identification document in combination with the gate pass issued by the High Court.
The Police have intensified the security measures following the plea from the Constitutional Court judges — Justices Mike Tembo, Ivy Kamanga, Redson Kapindu, Healy Potani and Dingiswayo Madise — who announced on Tuesday, January 28, that presence of the general public will only be 150 meters from the perimeter fence of the court premises.
As was the case with the hearing of the matter, accredited public media will be allowed to broadcast live the pronouncement of the judgement for the public to follow the proceedings.
The Registrar of the Supreme Court of Appeal and the High Court of Malawi, Agnes Patemba, says the ruling shall be delivered at 9am.