Malawi Congress Party (MCP) district committee members, who are demanding a national convention to formalise positions in the party, will be back in court on October 18 when the Supreme Court of Appeal is expected to hear their application for an injunction.
The MCP faction, led by former Dedza Valley chairperson Lackson Khamalatha, through their lawyer Wesley Namasala, filed a notice of appeal and skeleton arguments on September 30, but Chipeta sent back the file, saying the documents contained in it were inadequate for him to act on.
However, in an order made on Monday, Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal Judge Anaclet Chipeta said he resisted rejecting the application before hearing even a single argument; hence, he gave the appellants October 18 at 2pm to address the court.
He said: “I don’t think it automatically follows that immediately a party appeals against a decision, then all interlocutory applications that arise in it must be dealt with by the Supreme Court of Appeal. It is crucial, therefore, that the question of jurisdiction is addressed before anything substantive is touched on by my court in this matter.”
Chipeta said he was puzzled why the faction was hurrying for Supreme Court intervention and he saw nothing on which he could exercise jurisdiction when the High Court could also ably hear the matter.
The High Court in Lilongwe has twice dismissed applications by the former district chairpersons, first when they sought an injunction to stop elections in the districts which the party started holding on August 29, 2016.
But upon being reinstated, the same High Court rejected an application to add new applicants to the case as they no longer had sufficient interest in the matter because the party had new office-bearers in the districts.
Ousted MCP member Chatinkha Chidzanja has backed the claim for a fresh convention to legitimise the executive committee positions which came into effect in 2015.