Most Malawians see legal challenge to election results as justified, courts as impartial and trustworthy

As of late 2019, a majority of Malawians considered the political opposition justified in challenging the declared results of the 2019 election, a new national survey by Afrobarometer shows. Most also saw the country’s courts as trustworthy and impartial.

Findings from the survey, which was conducted last November-December, provide insights into how Malawians perceived their courts as the pivotal legal challenge advanced and public debate continued to rage in late 2019.

Most citizens were aware of the court case, and most said the opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) and United Transformation Movement (UTM) were justified in filing a legal challenge against the declared victory of President Peter Mutharika of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).

Large majorities saw the courts as impartial and trustworthy, and most said the president must always obey the laws and courts, even if he thinks they are wrong.
But Malawians were split as to whether the losing side in an election should always have the right to challenge its defeat in court.