The circus that has become of Malawi’s May 20 Tripartite Elections continued yesterday with the High Court in Lilongwe overturning a decision by Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) to recount and verify all ballot papers.
MEC on Saturday night resolved to do manual recount and verification of the votes amid revelations of serious allegations of irregularities, a process likely to take a month before a winner is announced.
But opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), whose candidate Peter Mutharika is leading in the presidential race according to the controversial unofficial results, yesterday rushed to the court where newly appointed High Court Judge Lloyd Muhara granted them a stay order that effectively stopped the decision by MEC.
Private practice lawyer Kalekeni Kaphale, representing DPP in the matter, said in an interview the court’s order meant that MEC must proceed with the process it started to tally the votes from the centres it received and proceed to announce the winner within the stipulated eight days.
The court ordered that hearing of this matter would be expedited.
MEC spokesperson Sangwani Mwafulirwa said in an interview in Blantyre the commissioners were going to meet to chart a way forward on the latest development.
Opposition United Democratic Front (UDF), which supported the recount, said it was unfortunate DPP was still seeking court relief despite the fact that there have been massive irregularities detected.
UDF secretary general Kandi Padambo said in an interview MEC’s decision was “brilliant” and it was going to settle all the queries.
People’s Party (PP) deputy spokesperson Ken Msonda said all parties should have respected the decision by MEC.
There was confusion at MEC’s National Tally Centre at the Comesa Hall in Blantyre after other stakeholders came to know about the stay order DPP obtained.
Blantyre-based, High Court Judge Healey Potani added yet another twist when he ruled that MEC’s results can only be challenged after they have been announced.
He was ruling on an application by New Labour Party (NLP) president Friday Jumbe and several independent candidates.
Meanwhile, MEC and political parties met last evening and agreed to vary the court orders to allow a recount in areas where glaring irregularities were reported.