It seems that political life, even more than usual, is creating cliffhangers at the present time. Far-reaching issues call for decision and tension builds up as the moment of decision approaches. People spend their time on tenterhooks. Malawi is no exception.
Next Monday, 3 February 2020, it is expected that the constitutional court will give its judgement on a case that has transfixed the country over the past six months. The candidates who were defeated in the May 2019 Presidential election brought a case that the election was fraudulently conducted and therefore requires to be re-run.
In Malawi’s first-past-the-post electoral system, as elsewhere, a candidate can win the election with a minority of the votes. Malawi therefore faces a situation where the majority lack confidence in the incumbent President at a time when there is urgent need for the country to be united to address pressing economic challenges. On the other hand, the President’s supporters have much to lose if the election is nullified. Malawi’s long tradition of resolving political issues peacefully is threatened by an air of anger and desperation. Many look forward to next week with foreboding.
Hence the nation awaits the judgement of the constitutional court with bated breath with almost everyone sensing that their hopes will either be dashed or saved by the outcome. Much responsibility rests on the shoulders of the judges to maintain their impartiality, guard their integrity and give their judgement strictly on the basis of the law. Much responsibility rests on both winners and losers in the court case to proceed constitutionally, responsibly and peacefully. Much responsibility rests on the churches to support the nation in prayer, hold people together at a time of division and provide a moral compass. Monday 3 February 2020 will be a good day to remember Malawi in prayer.