The constitutional court in Malawi Wednesday turned down the application by the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) and President Peter Mutharika to have enforcement of Feb. 3 court ruling suspended.

MEC and Mutharika applied for stay order to the nullification of May presidential election and holding of fresh election in 150 days. MEC and Mutharika also separately appealed the ruling to the supreme court of appeal, citing a number of grounds including the continuation of the case amid allegations of attempt to bribe the judges.

Among their grounds for application for stay order on the judgment pending the appeal, MEC and Mutharika argued that the period of 150 days given by the court for fresh poll was too short for a thorough exercise. The appellants also argued that the polls would require over 48 million U.S. dollars which would not be easy to source.

MEC chairperson, Justice Jane Ansah, said in her sworn statement in support of the application for stay that “the election can only be held within at least 261 days on October 28, 2020 if we operate on an expedite calendar.”But the court sustained the Feb. 3 ruling, saying the onus of expediting the election within the period stated by the court remained on the electoral body. On the cost the court said, “It is Malawians who will bear the cost through their taxes” and that “it is within the rights of the citizens of Malawi to be governed by a leader of their choice.”

In its Feb. 3 ruling on the May presidential poll case, the constitutional court said there were “grave, widespread and systematic irregularities” in the administration of the May presidential election where “tippex and manual alterations seriously undermined the results of the election.”

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