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Monday, October 3, 2022
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50+1 Threat to Multiparty Democracy

BY JACK BANDA

I have said it so many times about the 50%+1 system that it is not good for Malawi. I repeat this system is not good for Malawi.

These are my reasons:

1. The system will consummate regionalism or politics of strongholds.

2. The system will lead to the death of smaller parties. The need for negotiation, which is the hallmark of democracy, like what is happening now will be rendered unnecessary. Chakwera can go with Mia knowing that he has the run off round without Chilima in the competition.

3. The system will kill multiparty democracy. We will be left in a situation of having just two prominent parties like in the USA giving rise to an oligarchy.

4. The system can result in giving us a tyranny of the majority

Anyway, that is not what I wanted to talk about. I want to talk about 50%+1 in the way it featured in the so called landmark judgement.

Someone said that because the judges’ interpretation of the majority is 50+1 and therefore it is law that for one to win, he has to have 50% + 1 or more votes.

This is where we all can see that these judges were massively compromised and biased in their judgement because that to me is fundamentally uneducated opinion or making of a law, whatever you want to call it.

The judges gave that opinion or law as a rebuttal to an argument that was never raised by any of the parties involved in the case. They said it against our traditional and working understanding of what the majority means.

They have judged these elections as irregular on a basis of breaking a law that they have created and pronounced in their judgement. According to them, they did not recognise the votes that APM got as the majority because 50%+1 is what is the majority.

This means that the whole trial was a waste of time, there is nothing MEC could have done to get it right. These judges could have just used a language like Tumbuka or law gibberish that the majority of Malawians don’t understand to tell us that they have nullified the results.

It would have been more sensible and understandable than wasting time and money like we have done. It took them half a year to tell us that the majority is supposed to be 50%+1. In Kenya, the judges they were trying to mimic, took just a few days to nullify the election.

If the definition of the majority is 50%+ 1, why was parliament seating at that time to change the law to 50%+1?

What guidance is there in our laws that MEC could have abide by to make sure that the winner they were to announce had attained the majority? How about the other governments we have had in the past that never attained the majority in this sense, should they be looked at as illegal?

When talking about the majority, there are adjectives like absolute, simple, overall, special etc, which majority would apply to our situation in Malawi?

If you look at different countries like Canada, France, USA, the UK etc, they have different methods or systems they use to attain their majority in the sense of the way the judges are putting it, what is there in law in Malawi that can be used to attain the 50%+1?

They have given 150 days to hold election, is that enough time to come up with a proper act and use it for the elections?

How about, if we are found in a situation where either MCP or UTM have won with less than 50% and our laws are as vague as these judges have made them to be and we have a history of parties winning by less than 50%:

Wouldn’t that be unfair for either of these two parties?

Wouldn’t that be giving DPP one more life?

Wouldn’t that be asking teams to enter into a competition without clear rules?

Wouldn’t that cause pandemonium?

We are told to respect judges and judges’ decisions, I for one, accept the decision but I am finding it hard to say categorically that I respect these judges. I think their judgement is political and personal against DPP. Five unelected weirdos have tipped and undermined the will of the people.

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