Malawi: Court Allows Malawi Electoral Commission 5 Days Extension, Poll Case Timeline Affected

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The High Court sitting as a Constitutional Court in Lilongwe on Thursday allowed the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) application seeking extension to file sworn affidavits in the presidential election nullification petition case on grounds that petitioners interfered with its exercise.

MEC lawyer escorted by Police at high court in Lilongwe. Pic by Daniel Namwini

The court refused the 14-day extension but granted an extension of five days to collect information from its presiding officers.

Reading the ruling, Justice Dingiswayo Madise, said considering that electoral bodybuilding lawyers were disrupted when collecting the information it would be proper to give them the additional five days including weekends.

The electoral body had also asked the five-judge Constitutional Court panel for an order barring the petitioners or their agents from interfering with the recording of sworn statements of witnesses.

In their determination, the judges allowed the extension which would affect the commencement date of the case.

The court has also ordered Malawi Congress Party (MCP) President Lazarus Chakwera, to publicly condemn a statement made by the party's publicity secretary, Maurice Munthali, calling on Mec presiding officers not to grant Mec the required information.

The court says Chakwera must do so within 24 hours.

The Constitutional Court had earlier set July 29 set to start hearing a petition filed by UTM Party president SaulosChilima and Malawi Congress Party (MCP) president Lazarus Chakwera seeking nullification of the presidential election results over alleged irregularities, especially in the result management system.

President Peter Mutharika, by virtue of being the declared winner, is the first respondent while MEC is the second respondent.

With the extension, the case is likely going to delay.

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