Lilongwe High Court Judge Charles Mkandawire has ruled that presidential elections-related cases filed separately by UTM Party and Malawi Congress Party (MCP) be consolidated and heard as one and should be referred to the Constitutional Court.
MCP, which alongside UTM Party led by the country’s immediate past vice-president Saulos Chilima, is challenging results of the presidential election in which President Peter Mutharika of DPP was declared the winner followed by Chakwera and Chilima in second and third place, respectively.
High Court Registrar Agnes Patemba has confirmed that the matter will be given to Chief Justice Andrew Nyirenda for certification to be heard in the Constitution Court in accordance with section 9 (3) of the Courts Act.
Justice Mkandawire observed in his ruling that both cases relate to “common question of law” and that they arise “out of the same transaction.”
The judge also ruled that “there is no good and sufficient reason” for the two cases to continue separately.
He also made a determination that the two cases are “constitutional in nature.”
In a case filed at the Lilongwe Registry of the High Court of Malawi by lawyer representing MCP, Titus Mvalo, MCP is the first claimant with its president and presidential candidate in the elections, Lazarus Chakwera, as second claimant while Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) is the defendant.
MCP contends that Mutharika “won a fraudulent election” fraught with irregularities, including alleged stuffing of ballot papers with pre-marked ballots, tampering with election results sheets through correction fluid and being found in possession of result sheets at home.
MEC declared Mutharika winner of the presidential race with 1 940 709 votes or 38.57 percent. The electoral body said Chakwera was on second position with 1 781 740 votes, representing 35.41 percent of the vote and Chilima, who debuted on the presidential ballot on UTM Party ticket after falling out with Mutharika last June, finished third with 1 018 369 votes or 20.24 percent.
UTM on Friday also filed with the courts its challenge of the presidential election results. Like MCP, UTM is seeking nullification of the election results.