A seven-judge panel of the Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal has dismissed applications by the discredited Malawi Law Society (MLS) to join the presidential elections appeal case as friends of court but allowed Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) and President Peter Mutharika to amend notice of appeal and the ground of the appeal.
The judges also rejected the application of Women Lawyers Association (WLA) , arguing that both law bodies did not indicate the role they wanted to play in the case.
But Chief Justice Andrew Nyirenda (chair), and justices Edward Twea, Rezine Mzikamanda, Anaclet Chipeta, Lovemore Chikopa, Frank Kapanga and Anthony Kamanga allowed media houses like Times, Zodiak and Malawi Institute of Journalism (MIJ) to broadcast live court proceedings only on radio and not television.
President Mutharika’s lead lawyer Frank Mbeta said the applied for streamlining their argument of the appeal of the Constitutional Court judgement that nullified the May 21 2019 presidential election.
“The court has allowed us to streamline the issues that we want the court to deal with in the appeal,” said Mbeta.
He said this Friday, Mutharika’s legal team will be filing and serving the amendment.
According to Mbeta, the amendments were already done, but what they were doing was just a formality because they needed to have permission.
A five-judge panel comprising Healey Potani, Redson Kapindu, Ivy Kamanga, Mike Tembo and Dingiswayo Madise on February 3 2020 nullified the May 2019 presidential election and directed that a fresh election be held within 150 days from that date.
This was after two of the presidential candidates in the May 2019 elections, UTM Party’s Saulos Chilima (first petitioner) and Malawi Congress Party president Lazarus Chakwera, asked the court to nullify presidential poll results over alleged irregularities.
.Mutharika and MEC, the first and second respondent, respectively, filed their appeals to the Supreme Court, which is expected to start the hearing on April 15.