Malawi Supreme Court to Rule Thursday On Appeal to Dismiss Presidential Elections Result Challenge

President Peter Mutharika (file photo).
12 August 2019

Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal will deliver its ruling on Thursday on an appeal by Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) on High Court ruling in June dismissing an application to throw out, based on technicalities, a petition challenging presidential election results.

High Court judge Healey Potani : Informeed that the Constitutional court may not sit on Thursday as Supreme Court will be sitting on the same day to decide on an appeal by MEC and Presidential Candidate Peter Mutharika to strike out the elections case

In the case, MEC is the second respondent while President Peter Mutharika is the first respondent to a joint petition from two of the presidential candidates in the May 21 Tripartite Elections, first petitioner Saulos Chilima of UTM Party and the second petitioner Lazarus Chakwera of Malawi Congress Party(MCP).

A five-judge panel of the High Court sitting as a Constitutional Court in Lilongwe in June unanimously dismissed an application by Mutharika to have the petition thrown out for purportedly being "irregular, incompetent and incurably defective".

The five-judge panel comprises Healey Potani, Mike Tembo, Dingiswayo Madise, Ivy Kamanga and Redson Kapindu are currently hearing the petition case in Lilongwe.

On Monday when the court resumed sitting in the afternoon after weekend recess, Judge Potani informed that the Constitution Court may not sit on Thursday as Supreme Court will be sitting on the same day to decide on an appeal by MEC and Mutharika to strike out the elections case.

The appeal follows the Constitutional Court's earlier ruling against the two respondents' preliminary objection against the election petition.

MEC wants the Supreme Court to reverse the High Court's decision in proceeding with the case on the basis that the petitions, initially filed separately but later consolidated by the court, were filed fraudulently, out of time and without sworn statements.

Both Chilima and Chakwera are challenging results of the presidential election, claiming that they were rigged in favour of Mutharika who was declared winner with 38 percent.

Results MEC announced show that Chakwera trailed Mutharika with 35 percent while Chilima finished third with 20 percent of the votes.

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