News / Africa

    Malawi Court Blocks Move to Scrap Election

    Supporters of Malawi's incumbent President cheer during her final campaign rally at Songani village on the outskirts of the city of Zomba, the former capital of Malawi, May 17, 2014.
    Supporters of Malawi's incumbent President cheer during her final campaign rally at Songani village on the outskirts of the city of Zomba, the former capital of Malawi, May 17, 2014.
    Lameck Masina
    The high court in Malawi has blocked President Joyce Banda's effort to annul this week's general election.

    President Banda declared Saturday that the entire vote for president, members of parliament and local councils was "null and void," citing voting "irregularities," including many instances of people casting multiple ballots.

    Addressing a press conference Saturday in the capital, Lilongwe, Banda called for fresh elections in 90 days, during which she said she will not run.

    “In exercise of the powers conferred in section 88 (2) of the constitution, I hereby call for the nullification of all ongoing  processes in relation to the 2014 tripartite elections, including announcement and counting of the results to cease forthwith,” she said.

    Election commission officials immediately challenged her decision, questioning whether she had the authority to nullify the vote.

    Later Saturday, the high court suspended Banda's ruling and ordered vote counting to continue.

    Edge Kanyongolo, a constitutional lawyer at the University of Malawi, says the section Banda cited during her press conference does not give her the power to nullify an election.

    “My reaction is one of my puzzlement ... because I am reading this section here and is says ‘the president shall provide executive leadership in the interest of national unity in accordance with this constitution and the laws of the republic’," said Kanyongolo. "I am really struggling to find out how one can really interpret that to say it gives the president specific powers to call off an election and call for a fresh election in 90 days.”

    Law Society of Malawi President Mandala Mambulasa also told journalists that there is nowhere in the laws of Malawi where the president is given powers to nullify elections.

    Tuesday election was marked by lengthy delays for voters and numerous problems with ballots. Progress was so slow that authorities extend voting in some areas into Wednesday and Thursday.

    After 30 percent of the vote had been counted, the national election commission said opposition leader Peter Mutharika was in first place among the 11 candidates for president, ahead of President Banda. Another, unofficial count indicated she was even farther behind.

    Before the Malawi court reversed Banda's attempt to nullify the vote, protests broke out in several part of the landlocked southern African nation, including in Lilongwe, the capital.

    Banda had campaigned to win a full term as president. She ascended from vice president to become head of state two years ago, after the death of longtime president Bingu wa Mutharika.

    Presidential hopeful Peter Mutharika is the late president's brother.

    Some information for this report comes from AP, AFP and Reuters.

    You May Like

    Turkey, US Splits Deepen Over Support for Kurdish Militants

    Ankara summons American ambassador to protest remarks by State Department spokesman who said Washington does not consider Syria's Kurdish Democracy Union Party (PYD) a terrorist organization

    Obama Seeking $19 Billion for National Cybersecurity

    Move, touted as attempt to build broad, cohesive federal response to cyberthreats, calls for increase in cybersecurity spending across all government agencies

    Video Foreign Policy Weighs Heavy for Some US Voters

    VOA talks to protesters in Manchester, New Hampshire, who sound off on foreign policy issues such as the Guantanamo Bay prison, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the wars in Iraq, Syria and Yemen

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Conrad Ibukun-oluwa Ricketts
    May 25, 2014 6:53 AM
    When you annul elections without a clear and generally acceptable reasons backed by legal authorization, you sow discord and shall reap hatred, violence and riots and distrust on the long run. Beware!

    by: kamui from: kenya
    May 25, 2014 1:20 AM
    Pls Madam president respect the will of the of people of Malawi don't allow any other conflict in our continent.

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clownsi
    X
    February 09, 2016 8:04 PM
    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clowns

    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Rocky Year Ahead for Nigeria Amid Oil Price Crash

    The global fall in the price of oil has rattled the economies of many petroleum exporters, and Africa’s oil king Nigeria is no exception. As Chris Stein reports from Lagos, analysts are predicting a rough year ahead for the continent’s top producer of crude.
    Video

    Video Foreign Policy Weighs Heavy for Some US Voters

    VOA talks to protesters in Manchester, New Hampshire who sound off on foreign policy issues such as the Guantanamo Bay Prison, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Middle East Affairs and national security.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video New Hampshire Voters Are Independent, Mindful of History

    Once every four years, the northeastern state of New Hampshire becomes the center of the U.S. political universe with its first-in-the-nation presidential primary. What's unusual about New Hampshire is how seriously the voters take their role and the responsibility of being among the first to weigh in on the candidates.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Bhutanese Refugees in New Hampshire Closely Watching Primary Election

    They fled their country and lived in refugee camps in neighboring Nepal for decades before being resettled in the northeastern U.S. state of New Hampshire -- now the focus of the U.S. presidential contest. VOA correspondent Aru Pande spoke with members of the Bhutanese community, including new American citizens, about the campaign and the strong anti-immigrant rhetoric of some of the candidates.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.