The State has pleaded with the High Court of Malawi sitting as the Constitutional Court to dismiss the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) elections bid, describing it as a “hopeless case and waste of court’s time”.
Through Attorney General (AG) Thabo Chakaka Nyirenda, the State made the plea in response to the DPP’s defence submitted on Wednesday afternoon. He said the claimant wanted to be awarded for violating the law.
The AG insisted that the DPP violated the law by submitting names of four commissioners of the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) instead of three.
He said the matter before the court was electoral in nature because the former governing party wants the court-sanction fresh presidential election held on June 23 2020 nullified.
On the DPP’s position that it was seeking an interpretation on whether the Constitution was breached when the High Court declared four DPP-sponsored commissioners not duly appointed, Nyirenda said DPP did not demonstrate how it was injured in the case.
He said the court’s firing of commissioners Linda Kunje, Jean Mathanga, Arthur Nanthuru and Steve Duwa did not affect the operations of the electoral body.
Said Nyirenda: “I will maintain that this case should be dismissed at this stage. We raised eight points my ladies and my lords and in conclusion, we are submitting that each of those points individually or connectively will entitle to this court dismissing the constitutional referral with costs.
“This is a hopeless case. It is a case that is frivolous, vexatious and an abuse of the court process and waste of the court’s time.”
But during the State’s reply, one of the lawyers representing DPP, C h a r l e s Mhango, interjected and told the court that Nyirenda was raising new issues.
“I thought I should intervene and object to that line of argument in reply to our responses,” he said.
But chairperson of the five-judge panel Sylvester Kalembera directed the AG to continue with his reply.
Kalembera—who is chairing a panel also comprising Rowland Mbvundula, Dorothy NyaKaunda Kamanga, Annabel Mtalimanja and Thom Ligowe— adjourned the matter to a date to be communicated to both parties later.
He has since given both the State and the claimant 14 days to submit their final submissions on the preliminary objections.
In the case, DPP wants the court to interpret the effect of a High Court nullification of the appointment of four membersof the MEC cohort former president Peter Mutharika appointed in June 2020 on the decisions it carried out.
Subsequently, DPP wants the court to nullify the election of President Lazarus Chakwera and Vice-President Saulos Chilima in the court-sanct ioned June 23 2020 Fresh Presidential Election as well as all parliamentary and local government by-elections administered by the cohort of MEC.
In June this year, High Court Judge Kenyatta N yirenda faulted Mutharika for appointing more DPP commissioners t han were legally necessary.
The judge subsequently declared the four DPP commissioners Nanthuru, Duwa, Mathanga and Kunje not duly appointed and asked DPP to nominate three replacements and Malawi Congress Party to submit one to have three in total. Both parties complied.
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 Chakwera and Chilima after the May 21 2019 Presidential Election. The five-judge Constitutional Court panel granted the petitioners their wish on February 3 2020 and ordered a fresh election.