Court stops President Banda’s order to annul elections

Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) on Saturday scored a quick victory against President Joyce Banda when the electoral body obtained a court order quashing the President’s earlier decision to annul this week’s presidential elections and calls for new vote within 90 days.

Banda on Saturday claimed there were “serious irregularities” with the poll including multiple voting, ballot-tampering and a malfunctioning computerised vote-counting system.

But MEC rushed to court to challenge the President’s order.

Kaphale: Obtained court order
Kaphale: Obtained court order

Lawyers Kalekeni Kaphale, Noel Chalamanda, Patrick Mpaka representing DPP, Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC), Malawi Law Society (MLS) managed to get two orders at the High Court issued by Justice Kenyatta Nyirenda (1) a stay order stopping the execution of the President directive to annull polls and (2) an order for judicial review of the president’s directive.

Chalamanda said the court quashed the President’s declaration, saying she did not have the authority to annul an election, and that vote counting must continue.

“The court has given an order stopping the decision by the president annulling the elections results,” said Chalamanda.

He said court has also “stayed the order pending determination of judicial review proceedings.”

Chalamanda said the court has also granted an injunction against the implementation of the president’s decision.

A renowned local political analyst, Dr Henry Chingaipe said the President’s order is “potential for violence.”

The commission had earlier released preliminary results showing opposition Democratic Progressive Party candidate Peter Mutharika leading with 42 percent of the vote, followed by Banda with 23 percent. This was based on 30 percent of the total votes counted.

PP has refused to concede defeat in the current tripartite elections, arguing that the electoral process registered a lot of anomalies and that the opposition Democratic Progressive Party was rigging the election.

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