Malawi presidential election case rolls out

The Constitutional Court is set to start hearing the  landmark presidential election case as opposition seeks a re-run.

The new Constitution Court room 
Chilima and UTM lawyer Chikosa Sulungwe: First to present the case

Judiciary officials said the court had to move to a more spacious courtroom to accommodate the three dozen lawyers for the Malawi Congress Party (MCP) and UTM on one hand, the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC), President Peter Mutharika’s legal team on another hand and the Malawi Law Society.

The hearing is expected to take place for 24 days.

Larry Nita, lawyer for the MCP president Lazarus Chakwera, said all is now set for the hearing of the case.

“We filed the necessary documents and other parties also filed their documents so the hearing will be in form of responding to the documents,” said Nita in an interview with Nyasa Times.

Nita said the MCP team is geared up for the case.

One of the lawyers for Chakwera, Tutus Mvalo said they would still expect the court to address the issue of MEC’s failure to submit an audit report on the elections results.

“This is an important document and it was the court’s order. We will still demand compliance,” he said.

George Mtchuka Mwale, a member of Chilima’s legal team, said the UTM Party leader being the first petitioner in the case, will be the first to present his case before a panel of five judges.

He said the presentation will be supported by witnesses.

One of the lawyers for MEC, Tamando Chokotho said they filed all the documents which the court asked for and his team was equally ready for the case.

He said they are now ready to battle it out with the petitioners of the case, Chakwera and Chilima who are asking the court to ask for a rerun of the presidential poll, arguing MEC messed up the poll results.

But he said some other documents, including sworn statements from Chakwera, were served late and several other documents were yet to be served on them by the petitioners.

Chokhotho also said the petitioners are also “introducing new issues”.

He however said they are all set to battle it out in the court room.

Chilima and Chakwera are challenging results of the presidential election which MEC chairperson Jane Ansah declared was won by Mutharika and that Chakwera was second with immediate-past vice president Chilia trailing third.

Chakwera contends that Mutharika was re-elected in a “fraudulent election” fraught with irregularities, including alleged stuffing of ballot papefrs with pre-marked ballots, tanpering with election results sheets  through collection fluids – Tippex –  and being found in possession of result sheets at home.

Tight security is expected to be provided at the new court premises following violent anti-Jane Ansah protests.

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