President Peter Mutharika has warned those contemplating to declare his office vacant if the court-ordered fresh presidential election is not held within 150 days that they will be committing treason.
In his pre-recorded State of Nation Address (SONA) delivered on Friday in Parliament, Mutharika said the constitution mandates the President to continue serving until a successor is sworn in.
“Section 83 of The Constitution of Malawi prescribes the foundational constitutional order of this country. According to this Section, “The President shall hold office for five years from the date that his or her oath of office was administered, but shall continue in office until his or her successor has been sworn in,” Mutharika said.
He warned that doing to the contrary will be undermining the constitutional order.
“Those of you who are plotting otherwise will be undermining the constitutional order and therefore committing treason,” he said.
Mutharika accused both the panel of five High Court judges sitting as a Constitutional Court and the Seven-member panel of Supreme Court of Appeal of erroneously nullifying the May 21, 2019 presidential election.
“In every modern democracy, the will of the people is in the numbers that vote for us. The Court failed to show or prove that irregularities affected the result of the Election,” Mutharika said.
Mutharika argued that Parliament is more supreme than the Judiciary.
“We are elected members who represent the people and we have the authority to make laws for the Judiciary to interpret,” he said.
Mutharika therefore asked Parliament to hold the Judiciary accountable.
“The President and the Executive are always held accountable every day by this House and the people. Parliament is held accountable,” he said.
But Leader of Opposition Lobin Lowe hited back at Mutharika saying he is interfering with the independence of other arms of government.
Lowe has warned Mutharika that Parliament will defend the law regardless of his will and his moves to frustrate the fresh presidential election.