Blantyre, 05 December, 2019 / 12:13 am (ACI Africa).
Following months of post-elections unrest in the Southeast African nation of Malawi and a court hearing expected Friday, December 6 on an election petition challenging the May 21 poll, Catholic Bishops in the country have called on the estimated 16.8 million Malawians to accept the court ruling or challenge such outcome through “peaceful and constitutional mechanisms” even though the final verdict is expected in February 2020.
“As we await the court ruling, our country faces serious threats to peace and unity,” reads part of the December 3 statement by Catholic Bishops in Malawi referencing the case at the constitutional court filed on August 8.
The Bishops have appealed, “In the event that the court ruling does not go in your favour, accept it or challenge the outcome through peaceful and constitutional mechanisms.”
“We all have the duty and responsibility to promote peace and unity. We, therefore, call upon all the citizens of this country to respect and uphold the rule of law so that all can peacefully coexist,” the Bishops have stated against the backdrop of divisions and unrest characterized by violent confrontations.
The divisions and unrest followed the May 21 disputed elections after the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) declared the incumbent President Peter Mutharika, leader of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), winner with 38.57 percent of the vote against the leader of Malawi Congress Party (MCP), Lazarus Chakwera who garnered 35.41 percent. The country’s former Vice President Saulos Chilima of United Transformation Movement (UTM) received 20.24 percent of the votes.