A five-member judge of the Constitutional Court has adjourned to Friday when it will make a ruling on whether President Peter Mutharika’s application to strike out the presidential election challenge case or not.
The judges will also at the 3pm rule whether Zodiak and Times Group can beam proceedings of the court case live from the Constitutional Court sitting at the High Court premises in Lilongwe.
However, attorney general Kalekeni Kaphale stood against the court ruling on the live broadcasts, saying the court can make the ruling at a later date.
Earlier in the day, lawyers for president Peter Mutharika formally asked the five-judge constitutional court sitting in Lilongwe to strike off the high profile poll challenge case.
Both UTM publicity secretary Joseph Chidanti Malunga and Malawi Congress Party (MCP) secretary general Eisenhower Mkaka told their respective supporters outside the court that the judges adjourned the case for 15 minutes just before lunch to deliberate on the grounds put forward by Mutharika’s legal team to strike out the case.
The rescheduling conference is in camera and party supporters, especially from the MCP and UTM rely on their officials who were constantly briefing the party faithful and had to brave somehow a chilly weather in the capital to give a boost to the legal team.
The Mutharika has raised three main preliminary issues for the determination of the Constitutional Court.
“…that the UTM petition be struck out for being irregular, incompetent and incurably defective, that the MCP has not filed any election petition known to the law within the prescribed seven days’ period and should therefore be removed as a party to these proceedings and that the purported election petition by MCP be struck out for being irregular, incompetent, embarrassing and incurably defective,” says the notice in part.
The Mutharika argues in the application that the UTM president Saulos Chilima petition was not supported by any sworn statement filed within the prescribed seven days and cites wrong sections of the parliamentary and presidential elections Act.
The ruling party also says that the purported MCP president Lazarus Chakwera petition is a purported sworn statement by Dr. Lazarus Chakwera but signed by lawyer Titus Mvalo without any jurat.
“The said sworn statement was not attested before a commissioner for oaths as required by law and the nature and purpose of this document is unknown as is alien to the law as it is neither a petition nor a sworn statement and it is therefore embarrassing to the respondents,” says the application.
The DPP also argues that the purported election petition was not duly filed with the court as it does not have the requisite court stamp signifying payment of the requisite fees and it purports to verify a petition that does not exist.
The ruling party has asked the court to strike out both petitions for being irregular, incompetent, embarrassing and incurably defective.
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