The High Court in Lilongwe has dismissed an interlocutory injuction filed by lawyer of some disgruntled Malawi Congress Party (MCP) members seeking the court to issue an order stopping all district election that the party is currently holding.
MCP, the second biggest political party by representation in Parliament, has started conducting district elections to rebuild the party ahead of the 2019 General Elections.
But some disgruntled members who were calling for an early convention in protest of party president Lazarus Chakwera’s style of leadership, want the district elections stopped by an order of court.
Their lawyer Wesley Namasala also asked the court to nullify all results of district committee elections it held from 29 August 2016 and stop National Executive Committee of the party from meeting and making decision on behalf of the party untill the case which they are challenging the legitimate of the NEC is finalised.
Namasala in his submissions to the court argued that elections conducted from 29 August,2016 were irregular as there was no enough notice and that if the said decisions are not stopped from being implemented and further if the NEC is not stopped making decisions before conclusions of the matter in the court, there would be floodgate of litigations if in the event that the court makes a determination that the party’s purported revision of the NEC composition was a breach of the MCP constitution.
But lawyer representing MCP, Wapona Kita opposed the application, arguing that in the first place that the first applicant Lackson Chimangeni Khamalatha is no longer district chairman of Dedza Valley therefore he has no “locus stand” [sufficient interest] in the matter.
Kita also told the court that the issue of notice is invalid as it’s the notice of 17 May 2016 which was automatically reactivated after the injuction they were granted by then presiding judge Dr Chifundo Kachale fell off on 25 August 2016 .
On arguments that there would be lots of litigation and chaos, Kita said that it’s unfounded fear which the court must not take.
In his determination, Justice Charles Mkandawire said not every person is entitled to injuction but the one whose legal right has been infringed.
Justice Mkandawire said having carefully listened to the submissions made by counsel Namasala and the affidavit of Khamalatha in support of application, he did not see anywhere they are mentioning as which legal rights are under threat except that if the party is not restrained from implementing the decisions of NEC and in the event that the court rules in their favour , then there would be a floodgate of litigations.
“As to how this floodgate in litigation will affect their legal rights , there is no connection. I don’t think that it is prudent for the court to issue injuction just because the plaintiffs are anticipating that there would be a lot of litigations,” said the judge.
The Judge agreed with Kita that the claims were made on assumptions, ruling that “as the plaintiffs have not shown which legal rights are at stake apart from mere apprehension of floodgate. I do not find this to be the basis upon which I would grant an injuction. I therefore dismiss the application with cost”.
In May this year, some MCP officials—including district chairpersons and committee members—dragged the party to court, demanding an emergency convention asserting serious irregularities over how Chakwera runs the party and appointed some national executive committee (NEC) members.
On May 13 2016, MCP announced plans to embark on district elections after the High Court in Blantyre ruled against the legality of the party’s committees because the members had been on their positions beyond three years, as stipulated in Articles 20 (1) and 24 (2).
MCP director of Elections Maxwell Thyolera said the party will proceed holding the elections to ensure fresh district and constituency committees.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :