Judge questions opposition DPP capacity to sue MEC over pollster chief executive officer

A dozen lawyers are battling it out at the High Court in Blantyre where opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) wants the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) chief executive officer Andrew Mpesi removed from his position.
The DPP allege Mpesi is a political stooge of President Dr. Lazarus Chakwera.

At the beginning of the hearing on Monday, presiding judge Mandala Mambulasa questioned the political party’s capacity to sue the electoral body.

AG Chakaka Nyirenda
Mambulasa cited a number of cases his brother judges dismissed in the past because political parties that brought such matters had no capacity to sue or be sued.
The cited cases included one for United Democratic Front (UDF) and one for the DPP, and the judge demanded from lead lawyer representing the DPP, Felix Tambulasi, to address the court on the capacity of his client to sue MEC.
Tambulasi cited the new Political Parties Act, and read to the court a section that allows political parties to sue or be sued.
The court, upon giving opportunity to Attorney General Thabo Chakaka-Nyirenda for his views on the explanation, continued to hear the application.
Tambulasi, in the application for the judicial review, said the MEC CEO is not apolitical and he cited Facebook posts in which Mpesi showed he was a supporter of President Lazarus Chakwera and Malawi Congress Party.
He said Mpesi’s appointment breached the MEC Act.
But the AG, leading the defence team, opposed to the application, arguing the party had no sufficient interest to file the application.
Chakaka-Nyirenda said the claimant has to show his rights have been infringed/violated, which he said the claimant did not show that to the court.
The AG said the claimant also had an opportunity to complain to MEC.
The court is continuing to hear the AG before it comes with its decision whether to allow the judicial review.

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