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Photo by Riccardo Savi/Getty Images for International Commission on Financing Global Education Opportunity.

Malawians Celebrate Constitutional Court Ruling in Favor of Presidential Re-election

This is the first time an election has ever been legally challenged since Malawi obtained its independence from the British in 1964.

Yesterday, Malawi's Constitutional Court ruled in favour of a presidential re-election this year after finding "widespread irregularities" with the 2019 May election which saw President Peter Mutharika re-elected, the BBC reports.

Many Malawians have praised the recent ruling and welcomed the judges' decision to have fresh elections in five months' time. The landmark ruling is the first time that an election has been legally challenged—and successfully so—since the Southern African country obtained independence from the British in 1964.


Last year's May presidential election results caused a national upheaval following allegations of vote rigging through altering ballot papers, according to Foreign Policy. Current President Mutharika subsequently won 38.6 percent of the vote followed closely by opposition leaders Lazarus Chakwera securing 35 percent and former Vice President Saulos Chilima securing 20 percent. Chakwera and Chilima cried foul and led the charge to appeal the election results released by the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC).

Massive protests ensued as a result and have been intensifying in magnitude over the past few months although interrupted by intermittent bans on protests by the courts.

Part of the court ruling provided by Aljazeera reads as follows:

"The position of this court is that the widespread use of Tippex greatly undermined the integrity of the elections so much that applying the qualitative approach, the argument by the second respondent (Malawi Electoral Commission) that the valid vote count was not affected and that no monitor came forward to raise a complaint does not matter and this argument is thrown out."

The court added that in the interim, Mutharika would remain president.

Read some of the reactions to the court's decision on social media below:




Interview
Photo: Benoit Peverelli

Interview: Oumou Sangaré Proves Why She's the Songbird of Wassoulou

We caught up with the Malian singer to talk about her new Acoustic album, longevity as an artist, and growing up in Mali.

When Oumou Sangaré tells me freedom is at her core, I am not surprised. If you listen to her discography, you'll be hard-pressed to find a song that doesn't center or in some way touch on women's rights or child abuse. The Grammy award-winning Malian singer has spent a significant part of her career using her voice to fight for the rights of women across Africa and the world, a testimony to this is her naming her debut studio album Moussolou, meaning Woman. The album, a pure masterpiece that solidified Oumou's place amongst the greats and earned her the name 'Songbird of Wassoulou,' was a commercial success selling over 250,000 records in Africa and would in turn go on to inspire other singers across the world.

On her latest body of work Acoustic, a reworking of her critically acclaimed 2017 album Mogoya, Oumou Sangaré proves how and why she earned her accolades. The entirety of the 11-track album was recorded within two days in the Midi Live studio in Villetaneuse in 'live' conditions—with no amplification, no retakes or overdubs, no headphones. Throughout the album, using her powerful and raw voice that has come to define feminism in Africa and shaped opinions across the continent, Oumou boldly addresses themes like loss, polygamy and female circumcision.

We caught up with the Malian singer at the studio she is staying while in quarantine to talk about her new album, longevity as an artist, and growing up in Mali.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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