Governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) spokesperson Nicholas Dausi says it is the party’s constitutional right to demand that the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) investigates the five judges that presided over the presidential election nullification petition.
Dausi, who is also Minister of Homeland Security, was responding to a question on why the party members did not just report the judges’ bribery claims to ACB without having to march, and why it has taken them long to speak out on the claims.
The DPP on Monday took to the streets in Blantyre for what it called The March for the Restoration of Democratic Justice where, through Blantyre City Council, they petitioned ACB to probe the five-judge panel ocomprising Healey Potani, Redson Kapindu, Ivy Kamanga, Mike Tembo and Dingiswayo Madise for allegedly receiving bribes to rule in favour of the petitioners on February 3.
The party claimed that it was ready and willing to furnish ACB with information on the bribery claims.
But Dausi said by marching to present the petition and speaking out on the bribery claims, the party members were exercising their freedom of expression.
He said: “When we say a free and open society, it means that people are able to express their opinion, which is a fundamental human right. They were exercising their rights.”
While receiving a petition from DPP secretary general Grezelder Jeffrey on Monday, BCC chief executive officer Alfred Chanza assured the party that he would deliver the petition to the office of Chief Justice Andrew Nyirenda by close of business on Monday.
When contacted yesterday, registrar of the High Court and Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal Agnes Patemba said the Judiciary received the petition on Monday afternoon. She, however, declined to say what will happen next.
But in a separate interview, ACB director general Reyneck Matemba said his office was yet to receive the petition, adding once they receive it, they will handle it the way it does with any other complaints.
Asked if they received any complaints on the May 2019 presidential election from the governing party prior to the march on Monday, Matemba declined to comment.
Among other demands in the petition, DPP is also demanding a probe into the alleged relationship between judge Madise and first petitioner Vice-President Saulos Chilima, who was UTM Party presidential candidate in the May 2019 presidential race.
The High Court of Malawi sitting as the Constitutional Court nullified the May 21 2019 presidential election and directed that a fresh election be held within 150 days from day of the judgement.
Ironically, the petition from DPP, which was not a party to the case, is coming at a time President Peter Mutharika and Malawi Electoral Commission, as respondents, are appealing the decision.