Malawi: Parliament Shifts Mid-Year Budget to Accommodate Fresh Elections - No Injunction for Speaker

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14 February 2020

Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development Joseph Mwanamvekha will not present the Mid-Year Budget Review Statement this Friday as scheduled following Parliament decision to pave way for the Constitution Court judgement that nullififed the last May's presidential elections and ordered fresh election within 150 days from February 2 2020.

Speaker Catherine Gotani Hara

Mwanamvekha was expcted to table his statement on Friday but will have to tweak his figure to accommodate the budget for the fresh elections said to be pegged at K48 billion.

Leader of the House, Kondwani Nakhumwa confirmed the shifting of presentation of Mid-Year Budget Review Statement, saying the order for frsh elections will affect the K1.7 trillion 2019/20 National Budget, hence the need to include the same in the supplementary budget.

Mwanamvekha sais he was ready with the Mid-Year Budget Review Statement but wanted to see how the fresh elections cost would be accommodated.

Meanwhile, the office of the Speaker of Parliament and Clerk of Parlimane have dismissed social media talk that former legislators who lost the May 21 2019 Tripartite Elections have obtained an injunction restraining Parliament from transacting any business, saying there is no such an order..

The High Court in Zomba rebuffed an ex parte application by former legislators, saying the matter is inter partes.

Judge Zione Ntaba, in a notice to the applicants dated February 10 2020, transferred the case to the Lilongwe Registry

Following nullification of the presidential election by the Constitutional Court (Concourt), ex-MPs, led by Peter Bvalani and Jessie Kabwila have argued that they lost the election due to Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC)'s incompetence.

Determining the matter, the ConCourt on February 3 2020 stated that the second respondent, MEC, demonstrated incompetence for failing to follow laid out legal processes for the conduct of the elections.

In an ex parte application for an interlocutory injunction, the ex-MPs argue that since both presidential and parliamentary polls were managed by MEC which the Concourt declared incompetent, it was fair to also nullify the parliamentary results.

It reads: "That we also believe that in the unlikely event that the parliamentary election is not nullified, it will cause constitutional crisis in observing the electoral calendar and the same is tantamount to violation of Section 67 (1) of the Constitution as the current members of Parliament will serve a period beyond five years in their respective constituencies against the will of the people of Malawi."

"Wherefore, we humbly pray to the Honourable court for an order of injunction to restrain the 2nd Respondent, through itself or its agent and the entire National Assembly from carrying any parliamentary proceedings or activities which include but not limited to parliamentary sessions and/or parliamentary committees meetings or deliberations until determination of the court."

Earlier, Kabwila, who contested on a UTM Party ticket in Salima North West Constituency, said the irregularities as confirmed by the five-judge panel of the ConCourt were not exclusive to the presidential race as the process run concurrently.

But lawyer Justin Dzonzi described the move by the defeated aspirants as "insane" and a vain attempt.

"They have failed to make the claim within the statutory period when they must lodge the claim. The law says they must lodge their complaint within seven days," he said.

Posting on his Facebook page on the matter, governance expert Henry Chingaipe schooled the former MPs that on May 21 2019 Malawi held one presidential election, 193 parliamentary elections and 462 local government elections.

He argued: "Each election is independent of the other. A parliamentary election in Constituency A is independent of the parliamentary election in Constituency B. Any interdependence between them is an empirical matter. "So far, based on petitions that were filed competently, only the presidential election is proven to have been conducted shambolically as to warrant nullification."

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