Malawi MPs lose bid to overturn election results

23 Feb, 2020 - 00:02 0 Views

The Sunday Mail

The High Court Lilongwe Registry has dismissed with costs an application by former legislators, who lost that country’s May 21 2019 Tripartite Elections, for nullification of the entire parliamentary elections — as it did with the presidential elections — and an interlocutory injunction restraining parliament from transacting any business.

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

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

In their application, 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.

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 ran concurrently.

But delivering his ruling on Friday, judge Charles Mkandawire said ex-MPs should be mindful of the fact that they are pursuing an equitable interim relief on injunction.

He said: “They should, therefore, come with clean hands and not in the manner they are trying to evade proper procedural mechanism as to how parliamentary elections can be challenged.”

The court said the ex-MPs should “go back to the drawing board” and follow proper steps on how to commence an election petition, according to the law.

“The onus will be on them to show cause why they have taken almost nine months before they could file the matter with the court,” said Justice Mkandawire.

Justice Mkandawire said he has “carefully surveyed” the decision of the ConCourt on February 3 and also looked at the “consequential direction” that have been given by the court to Parliament.

“I am aware that the Constitutional Court is at the level of the High Court and therefore its decisions are not binding on me.

“Let me, however, put it on record that the order and directions of the Constitutional Court are so well thought through that they take care of most of the anxieties of the applicants,” he said. — Nyasa Times.

The judge said it would thus not be just to grant an injunction in the matter “as such a move would be counterproductive and not in the interest of the common good.”

He said the ex-MPs should follow proper procedures on how election matters have to be commenced and dismissed the application with costs. — Nyasa Times.

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