Former governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has asked the High Court sitting as a Constitutional Court
to dismiss the defence’s preliminary issues and direct that the court proceeds to hear the substantive matter.
In a sworn statement dated September 22 2021, DPP administrative secretary Francis Mphepo argues that the defendant’s prayer for the court to first hear preliminary issues was a desperate attempt to present and argue their amended defence before the court hears the substantive matter.
He further argues that the defendant’s amended defence contending that the DPP’s nomination of the names to be appointed commissioners was unlawful was now termed as a preliminary issue.
Mphepo has since asked the court for an order that the defendant’s preliminary issues be disposed of without a hearing
The five-judge panel of the High Court sitting as the Constitutional Court set September 29 as a date to start hearing the case in which DPP wants the court-sanctioned June 23 2020 Fresh Presidential Election and parliamentary as well as local government by-elections managed by the seventh cohort of Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) nullified after the High Court in June ruled that four of the commissioners were not duly elected.
But in an interview after the scheduling conference on September 14, Attorney General Thabo Chakaka Nyirenda indicated that the State would ask the court to dismiss the case on the basis that DPP did not have sufficient interest in the matter because it did not participate in the said elections.
He said: “It was [former president] Peter Mutharika
that participated in the elections, so DPP cannot come to court and challenge the elections.
“The other thing is that the chaos that has been created on the issues of irregularities in the appointment of MEC commissioners was brought in by the DPP. So, they deliberately created that chaos and they want to turn around and say we want to be rewarded for those irregularities?”
High Cour t Judge Sylvester Kalembera is leading the five-judge panel that also comprises Rowland Mbvundula, Dorothy NyaKaunda Kamanga, Annabel Mtalimanja and Thom Ligowe.
This is the second time the Constitutional Court will decide the fate of the country’s presidency after the presidential election
nullification petition filed by UTM Party leader Saulos Chilima and Malawi Congress Party president Lazarus Chakwera after the May 21 2019 Presidential Election.
The five-judge of the Constitutional Court panel granted the two petitioners their wish on February 3 2020 and ordered a fresh presidential election which Chakwera, who partnered Chilima, won