There remains an unprecedented wave of reaction to the Constitutional Court ruling for a fresh ruling on social media in the country. This has certainly reinforced what Mark Zuckerberg, CEO, and Founder of Facebook said about social media that “When you give everyone a voice and give people power, the system usually ends up in a really good place.”
The Constitutional Court in Lilongwe handed its ruling on Monday evening to the disputed May 2019 elections by calling for a fresh ruling in the next 150 days.
The Malawi Congress Party and UTM had petitioned the court to nullify the poll in which Peter Mutharika- the first respondent in the case was declared winner.
Spanning from August last year, the case has drawn tightly popular media attention, most of which has rested on the nod that courts gave to media houses to broadcast the case live.
The latest social media buzz rests on the plans by Mutharika to appeal against the ruling.
In an interview with MIJ Online, journalist Archibald Kasakura while urging for the need to have the platforms regulated, maintained they offered room for people to debate on important issues.
‘’ Social media platforms have been critical in the dissemination of information, especially about this case. People had access to case progress in real-time and that is a huge plus. However, on the other hand, the medium also proved to be an area that needs to be well regulated to filter negative elements such as the spread of fake news,’’ he said.
On the other hand, Kasakura faulted the slow response by the court authority to state the date on which the verdict would be made arguing it led to the spread of rumors something that forced them to deny the reports time and again.
‘’In the modern era, people demands the consumption of information in real-time. We also hope that going forward the Judiciary would not only allow voice transmission from the court but also visuals,’’ he added.
People have been sharing memes, trolling the people involved in the case. Most of the memes hovered around some decrees that the court has made.
The decrees include an order to the Malawi Electoral Commission to pay the petitioners costs incurred in the case, the order for the Presidential status to remain as it was before the May 2019 elections and that the polls be held within the next 150 days.
Others are using the tags ‘Time flies’, while some argue on the other end, there is quite a lot of time for parties to prepare for the fresh elections.
Through our platform (MIJ Online) readers have been reacting to the call by the five-panel judges for the country to adopt the 50+1 electoral threshold.
The 50+1 vote proposed law requires that the winning president will have to amass at least 50+1 percent of the national vote.
Currently, the country is using the First-Past-The-
In commenting on our platforms, the readers argued on whether the nation has to adopt the reform or not. Some christened it as a reform that will ensure the nation holds far more fair elections with others citing it as hard in something that parties do not want.
James Ephraim Chikandamaso Manyoni wrote: ‘’I second the 50+1 system. We have already achieved what seemed impossible and we have proved to the world that our judicial system is good. I hope that this system will not let us down as we are preparing for this coming presidential election.’’
‘’This is what the nation has already been fighting for. It was the selfishness of the shortsighted politicians who denied that proposed law. Now, it bounces back to them,’’ wrote one Vincent Chadula in commenting on our post.
At the moment, social media is still creating a sphere through which people argue on events that have unfolded in the country over the last few months.