Malawi: Mutharika, MEC Fail in Malawi Presidential Election Case Appeal Bid - Dismissed With Costs

President Peter Mutharika (file photo).
15 August 2019

Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal has rejected an attempt by President Peter Mutharika and Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) to prevent the Constitution Court judges hearing the presidential elections case.

The bid to dismiss the case on technical ground was rejected by the High Court sitting as the Constitutional Court on June 22 2019. But Mutharika and MEC filed an appeal to the Supreme Court which heard the matter on Thursday.

Making the ruling, the bench of seven judges led by Chief Justice Andrew Nyirenda rejected the appeal bid with costs.

"Our answer is yes, these matters are appealable under provisions 21 and 23. Proceeding from there, we notice a couple of issues (A) there are no notice appeal files by the first appellant (b) there is a notice of appeal by the second appellant but the matters are matters raised by the first appellant and not the second appellant in the court below," said justice Nyirenda in the ruling.

"Having made these observations, having heard the skeleton arguments and having heard counsel this morning orally and having considered the matter in entirety we dismiss the matter with costs," he ruled.

The ruling by Justice Nyirenda means the Constitutional Court will continue to hear the presidential elections case.

Mutharika took the presidency with just 39% of the vote in a wide field. His opponents, led by runner-up Lazarus Chakwera, accused Mutharika's Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) of tampering with results in some parts of the country.

At the Constitutional Court, Attorney General Kalekeni Kaphale completed cross-examining first petitioner Saulos Chilima after keeping him in the witness stand for five days.

The court continues sitting on Friday in Lilongwe.

Judge Healy Potani said on behalf of the panel of Dingiswayo Madise, Redson Kapindu, Mike Tembo and Ivy Kamanga that on Thursday that they would utilise the time to discuss case management and look into how best to proceed with the case so as to handle it within time.

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