Malawi’s Supreme Court of Appeal has confirmed that Peter Mutharika was ‘not duly elected’ as President in last year’s national election. This is important news: many people had been holding their breath as they waited for the appeal outcome. But that is far from all that the judgment decided. It also made final rulings on other issues that will impact on government and elections into the future, well beyond the forthcoming re-run. In this case the appeal court was considering a decision by Malawi's constitutional court, handed down earlier this year.
In its 142-page decision the seven judges, among them the Chief Justice, Andrew Nyirenda, are unanimous in upholding the finding of the constitutional court: the May 2019 elections failed in their aim of ‘duly electing’ a new President. In other words, President Peter Mutharika, who headed the country before the May polls and was declared re-elected in those elections, was not in fact ‘duly elected’.