Over 40 election petitions, mostly from losers of the parliamentary poll in the May 21 Tripartite Elections, have been filed in various courts across the country.
Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) and winning parliamentary candidates are battling to prove that there were no irregularities during and after voting.
Professor of law at Chancellor College Ngeyi Kanyongolo says most of those challenging the parliamentary results will lose because of lack of knowledge of court procedures.
“Although the Malawi Electoral Commission gave out information on procedures on how to challenge the election results, it seems most of them did not take heed,” said Kanyongolo.
Political commentator George Phiri gave an example of a case in which losing candidates in Nkhata Bay central challenged the results after Symon Vuwa Kaunda won the election.
“One of the petitioners, Justin Prince Banda pulled out of the case because he said he joined the case before knowing what it was all about,” said Banda.
The case, in which Peoples Party vice president Ralph Mhone has dragged Vuwa Kaunda to court over the election results, goes back to the High Court in Mzuzu this Friday.
In the Constitutional Court , President Peter Mutharika, through private legal firm Mbeta & Company, wants the five-panel of judges to dismiss petitions of UTM Party president Saulos Chilima and Lazarus Chakwera of Malawi Congress Party (MCP) challenging results of the presidential race.
The preliminary application by Mutharika, who was added to the case as the first respondent by virtue of being the declared winner of the disputed election, the President’s legal team submits that the petition by Chilima, who is the first petitioner in the case, is irregular and incompetent.
They argue that Chilima, who was Mutharika’s second-in-command between May 2014 and May 2019, failed to file an election petition within the prescribed seven days period after announcement of results; hence, should not be considered.
In case of Chakwera, who is the second petitioner, Mutharika is challenging his petition filed on June 3 on the basis of being “irregular, incompetent, embarrassing and incurably defective” as well.
Chilima and Chakwera filed separate petitions disputing the May 27 Malawi Electoral Commission declaration of Mutharika as winner of the presidential race with 1 940 709 votes representing 38.57 percent followed by Chakwera with 1 781 740 votes representing 35.41 percent with Chilima finishing third and ahead of four other aspirants with 1 018 369 votes representing 20.24 percent.
The petitioners cite irregularities, especially in the results management process, as some of the factors justifying nullification of the presidential election.
But last week the High Court consolidated the petitions into one case and referred the matter to Chief Justice Andrew Nyirenda who subsequently certified it as a constitutional matter and assigned a five-judge panel to hear the case as a Constitutional Court.
The five-judge panel comprises Healey Potani, Mike Tembo, Dingiswayo Madise, Ivy Kamanga and Redson Kapindu.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :