Erstwhile ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), which was booted out of power by the now governing Tonse Alliance has been billed K200 million as legal fees in the 2020 fresh presidential election case (FPE).
Attorney General Thabo Chakaka Nyirenda, who made the announcement on Wednesday, emphasized that “the amount was not open for discussion because it is the money that was spent.”
The High Court in Blantyre, sitting as Constitutional Court, on October 11, 2021, dismissed with costs a case in which DPP asked the Court to nullify the June 23, 2020 fresh presidential election court-sanctioned election which President Lazarus Chakwera and vice president Saulos Chilima becoming victors.
“We have made an assessment which has arrived at the amount considering the time spent at the court, materials used during the case and expenses which were incurred; and that includes accommodation, food and transport,” said Nyirenda.
In August, The DPP argued the rerun should also be nullified after the High Court quashed the appointment of four DPP commissioners to the Malawi Electoral Commission.
In June, the High Court quashed the appointment of four DPP commissioners Jean Mathanga, Linda Kunje, Steven Duwa and Arthur Nanthuru, saying their appointment was invalid and unconstitutional.
The court acted after the governing Malawi Congress Party had challenged the appointment of the commissioners.
In his ruling, Judge Kenyatta Nyirenda further said the quashing of the appointments did not affect the validity of the June 2020 re-run presidential election.
But the opposition DPP said Nyirenda erred in his ruling because he touched on issues beyond his mandate.
The party wanted the court to also invalidate the rerun election because it was managed by commissioners who it said were wrongly appointed.
They argued that the Malawi Constitution did not recognize an election that was presided over by undeserving commissioners.
But last November, DPP’s challenge to Malawi’s 2020 presidential elections was dismissed by the country’s constitutional court.
Reading the final judgment, chairperson of a five-judge panel Sylvester Kalembera faulted the opposition Democratic Progress Party’s argument that Attorney General Chakaka Nyirenda was not supposed to handle the case because he was not yet sworn into his position.
“Our finding is that the framers of the constitution did not intend for the attorney general to take an oath of office,” said Kalembera. “We have found that the attorney general is properly before us.”
Kalembera said the DPP’s court challenge was irregular on seven grounds.
“Six, the claimant being precluded from benefiting from its own illegality,” said Kalembera.
“And seven, the proceeding being frivolous, vexatious and abuse of court’s process. The claimant actions have been struck out. The claimant has been condemned in the attorney general’s costs. This is the ruling of the court.”Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :