The High Court in Lilongwe yesterday granted the opposition Tonse Alliance an order to start a judicial review into the recent appointment of some Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) commissioners.
J u s t i ce Ke n y a t t a Nyirenda granted the order to Tonse Alliance presidential candidate and Malawi Congress Pa rty (MCP) leader L a z a r u s C h a k w e r a following an application by his lawyers.
According to a copy of Judicial Review case number 34 filed on June 15 2020 in the High Court of Malawi Lilongwe Registry, MCP and Chakwera are the first and second applicants, respectively with President Peter Mutharika as the first respondent and commissioners Jean Mathanga, Linda Kunje, Steve Duwa and Arthur Nanthuru as interested parties.
High Court and Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal registrar Agnes Patemba confirmed the development in an interview yesterday, but said the order did not restrain the commissioners from continuing to preside over the management of the fresh presidential election to be held next week.
One of Chakwera’s lawyers Titus Mvalo said the Tonse Alliance torchbearer wants the court to review whether President Peter Mutharika broke the law in the appointments.
Mvalo says first, the court must review whether the President contravened the law in appointing more representatives of the governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) to the commission and also in reappointing commissioners Mathanga and Kunje despite the two being declared incompetent by the High Court and Parliament.
He said: “Legally, MCP is supposed to have three commissioners but the President only appointed two. We are challenging this as an irregularity.”
Mvalo said the party hopes to have the case heard before the June 23 election, but the court has not yet set the date for the hearing of the case.
Mutharika appointed six new MEC members and chairperson Justice Ch i f u n d o Ka c h a l e following the expiry of previous commissioners’ c o n t r a c t s a n d t h e resignation of former MEC chairperson Jane Ansah.
Apart from Nanthuru, Duwa, Kunje and Mathanga, other commissioners are Anthony John Mukumbwa and Olivia Liwewe.