Judges say electoral matters implicate human rights: Malawi court hailed on Malawi poll fraud case continuation

A local governance expert  and opposition leaders have hailed Malawi’s constitutional court  for quashing an application by President Peter Mutharika and the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) to throw out the referral case by Malawi Congress Party (MCP) president Lazarus Chakwera and UTM Party leader Saulos Chilima who are disputing the May 21 presidential poll results.

Chilima and UTM lawyer Dr Chikosa Lilongwe at the court
MCP lawyers  Mordecai Msiska SC, Titus Mvalo, Innocentia Ottober and Pempho Likongwe. out of court after winning round one
Makhumbo: It is in public interest that the case is pursued to the logical conclusion

In an interview with Nyasa Times, Makhumbo Munthali a human rights and governance commentator, said a panel of five judges ruling that the courts should hear the case is a victory for democracy.

“The Court path should be viewed in this stalemate as one critical avenue in validating or invalidating the Presidential election outcome as such both parties need to cooperate and give the Court a chance to administer justice,” said Munthali.

President Mutharika, who narrowly won the election last month, had applied to have the court application by two opposition parties thrown out.

But the five judges hearing the matter – Healey Potani, Mike Tembo, Dingiswayo Madise, Ivy Kamanga and Redson Kapindu – said the case could continue and set June 26 as the date for a full hearing.

In their determination on preliminary objections, the judges observed that currently in  the absence of clear rules of procedure governing the form of electoral petitions under the Presidential Parliamentary  Elections Act (PPEA) and under the CPR, 2017, the Constitutional  Court considers that “since electoral matters generally implicate human rights under Chapter 1V of the Constitution, the Court is bound to adopt a broad and generous approach that favour access to electoral justice instead of  unduly restricting it by judicial unbacked by clear rules under statue.”

Commenting on the outcome, governance expert Munthali said: “I think it is in the best interest of both MEC (and DPP) and the opposition that the case should continue. At the end of the day this will partly help in answering the question as to whether the election was rigged or not.”

Munthali told Nyasa Times that if the Court decides to discontinue the case based on technicalities this will mean that the substance of the matter will remain unresolved.

“And people will still hold the perception that the election was rigged. That’s how I see it. At the end of the day it is in public interest that the case is pursued to the logical conclusion,” he said.

One of MCP’s lead lawyers, senior counsel Mordecai Msisha said  DPP’s lawyers had immediately raised an application to appeal the ruling but the court said it will hear the grounds for the application while proceeding to set aside hearing for the case on June 26 2019.

Munthali said: “For DPP and MEC they need to know that allowing the Court to pursue the substance of the case to the logical conclusion will also help them in validating or invalidating the outcome of 2019 Presidential elections. If the Court does not find any (serious) evidence of rigging, this would in one way or the other strengthen Mutharika’s legitimacy to govern. Otherwise, DPP’S and MEC’s decision to challenge the continuation of the case may raise some questions or suspicion, and in some way validates claims that the election was rigged.

MCP leader Lazarus Chakwera hailed the ruling describing it as a sign that justice will prevail.

“We are very happy with the ruling and we will be proceeding with the case. They have been given leave to appeal, but that will not stop the process,” he added.

UTP Party leader Saulos Chilima, the country’s immediate former vice-president who fell out badly with Mutharika while serving as his deputy, said in his briefing of journalists and supporters: “The applications to have our cases dismissed have been dismissed, so we have won the case.”

Mutharika was declared winner with 38 percent of the votes trailed by Chakwera with 35 percent and Chilima with 20 percent.

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President Mkango Lion Manthakanjenjemereza
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President Mkango Lion Manthakanjenjemereza

I love you you my judges

Bwamnoni wanonadi
Guest

ABALE DPP NDI MEC IKUNDICHITITSA MANYAZI. IMAGINE PA DEPOT WINA WABELEDWA NDIYE WOBEREDWAWO WAKADANDAULA KUTI WOGANIZILIDWAYO ASECHEDWE. NDIZANZERU KUTI WOKUBAYO APITE KU KHOTI KUKATENGA CHILETSO KUTI ASASECHEDWE? KIKIKIKIKI! NDIYE KUTI WABADI!!!!

Maunitsi
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Maunitsi

Five Judges appointed will be heroes of Africa and beyond to show the world that when majority of people of the nations look for justice give them the justice they want.

Nchalo yourth
Guest

i WOULD LIKE TO GIVE A CLEAR NOTICE TO THE JUDGES THAT IF THEY ARE TO BE CORRUPTED REMEMBER YOUR SELECTED AS HIGHEST OFFICE OF JUDICIARY IN WHICH YOU NEED TO PROTECT THE RULE OF COURT WHICH IS ALREADY IMPLICATED BY THE SAME POLITICIANS AND BIG SHORTS SO ITS YOUR TIME TO PROVE JUSTICE REMEMBER DPP IS THERE FOR 5 YEARS IS GONE BUT JUDICIARY IS THERE FOREVER PLEASE MAKE YOUR OFFICE CLEAN BY FOLLOWING THE TRUE”TH NOT MONEY FOR YOUR FUTURE GENERATION TO BE BLESSED BY GOD BE A TRUE MALAWIAN AND A TRUE SONS AND DAUGHTERS OF THE… Read more »

Chamunorwa
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Chamunorwa

You are saying hogwash. You even failed to punctuate your comments making it difficult to understand what you are trying to say.That apart where is the justice if only you will accept what is favourable to you. Right now you are ulilating and praise singing. I hope you will do the same in the name of democracy and fair justice if you loose. The analysis by Munthali is very fair and to the point.

Gona pa Muhanya
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Gona pa Muhanya

Bring evidence that the election was not rigged that is what will count as 26th June. Your counterparts have the evidence that the election was rigged, that is why they are boldly and happily moving forward. kaya wama technicalities yo kaya zimuthera bwanji

King banda
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King banda

U are a big idiot Malawians are not only people from central region so stop talking nonsense if u are a member of MCP it doesn’t mean all Malawians are members of MCP and u cannot chose for them what is right they already chose for themselves what is right and if u look at protesting its only MCP members who are protesting not all Malawians so stop mentioning richer nor poor nor bad nor good for the country coz its not all the Malawians who vote for MCP so stop telling the lawyers what is right and what is… Read more »

Truth Pains
Guest

Very clever and on point analysis by Munthali, Of course if DPP and MEC still insist of avoiding the continuation of the Case then indeed this will be viewed as hiding something by the public . And public judgement including the Court (Judges) will be concluded that they really rigged the election. Why so scared? Just bring your evidence that u didn’t rig the election. It’s what we are waiting to hear and see the evidence. Your opponents surely will bring your Tippex copies of 60 or 70 to your down fall . The world has changed so the Tippex… Read more »

The Sage
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The Sage

The clear evidence points to a re-run. Even DPP and MEC know it. God will help us get Peter out legally

Nyondo
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Mind you among the 5Judges three of them are questionable on this case so watch out some have relationship at MEC

Smart Aunt Sally
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I will not comment to hide my ignorance of the law. This is my 9th time to vote. The first two were during Kamuzu one party dictatorship. Before I die, I would like to see justice in the electoral process. I believe that tippex and bribes to MEC chairperson and her officers are inferior to my vote.

NGATI
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A MALAWI TAPONDEREZEDWA KWA NTHAWI YAITALI NDI WANTHU WACHIPONGWE WAKUBAWA —- DEMETIIII

Cardet wotsutsa
Guest

It will be our first time to see that courts are indipendent, Madise komwe uliko umatiimilira iweyo, you are the madala aise, asamatinyadile apumbwa amenewa.

Nchalo yourth
Guest

GOD WILL REWARD THEM

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