The High Court in Blantyre has dismissed a case by prominent lawyer Ambokire Salim who wanted the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) to compel presidential candidates and their political parties live up to their campaign promises.
Salimu filed for leave for judicial review as a concerned citizen to influence electoral law reform that would make elected public officers answerable to promises they make during campaign period.
The private practice lawyer made the application after noticing that most presidential candidates and their parties backtrack on their promises, usually bound in party manifestos, once they are voted into power.
He wanted MEC to refer the Parliamentary and Presidential Elections Act, Political Parties Act and Local Government Elections Act to the Law Commission for review to include an express statutory requirement that will demand the elected people to be legally bound by their promises.
However, Judge Kenyatta Nyirenda dismissed the application, saying the matter is not for judicial review.
He said there are relevant state bodies that can handle such issues, citing the Malawi Law Commission that can draft that for a possible law.
Nyirenda also referred Salimu to Presidential Act and Local Government Elections Act on the matter.
Justice Nyirenda therefore said it was not the mandate of the electoral body to police presidents and their parties over their campaign promises.
Salimu gave an example of President Peter Mutharika and his ruling Demoicratic Progressive Party who promised to trim presidential powers once voted into office so that the director of the graft busting body, the Anti Corruption Bureau is not appointed by the President.
This promise is contained in the party manifesto, a set of campaign promises ahead of an election.
Mutharika and the DPP have since backtracted on the issue and voted against it when the opposition brought it in parliament.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :