The Supreme Court has ordered the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) to conduct a re-run of the disputed parliamentary election in Lilongwe City South East.
In May 2014, MEC declared Democratic Progressive (DPP) candidate Bently Namasasu winner with 10 956 votes against 10 854 votes for Malawi Congress Party (MCP) candidate Ulemu Msungama.
The Supreme Court has upheld a ruling of the High Court which stated that the anomalies noted in the election could only be resolved through a re-run after a recount failed when a mysterious fire destroyed poll materials in a MEC warehouse in Lilongwe in 2014.
The court order follows the unsuccessful challenge of the re-run by Namasasu whose grounds included that the results were not disputed by MCP monitors at the polling centres.
In his attempt to obtain a stay order on the High Court determination of a re-run, Namasasu had also argued that the assessment of the facts concerning the Lilongwe City South East election were faulty because the judge relied on results from the Chilinde Polling Station only.
But the High Court denied the application on the basis that the decision was made based on the submission from MEC and Msungama but Namasasu neglected to make his own.
In an interview yesterday, Msungama said he had waited patiently for the Supreme Court to make its determination and was happy that the High Court did not err in ordering a recount.
“I had not given up. I have been waiting for justice to be done on this matter. First the court ordered a recount, but the ballot papers were burnt down, then the court ordered a recount, but this was challenged in the Supreme Court so I am happy about this,” he said.
The panel comprising Supreme Court justices Edward Twea, Lovemore Chikopa and Anthony Kamanga has also ordered Namasasu to bear the cost of the action.
An ecstatic Msungama and MCP parliamentarian for Dowa East Richard Chimwendo Banda led party supporters in jubilation at the courts before they were joined by deputy secretary general Eisenhower Mkaka.