The Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) has hired South African lawyers to help in the elections appeal case, as the electoral body has submitted to Supreme Court of Appeal their application to stay a judgement that annulled the presidential election.
Embattled MEC chairperson Justice Jane Ansah has confirmed the hiring of Mboweni Maluleke Inc Attorneys of South Africa to beef up the legal team headed by local private practice lawyer Tamanda Chokhotho.
According to documents seen by Nyasa Times, the South African lawyers will be paid $788,500 (over K500 million).
Meanwhile, Chokhotho has filed submissions to Supreme Court of Appeal seeking a stay order before the substantive appeal case is heard.
The High Court, sitting as a Constitutional Court in Lilongwe, declined to stay its own judgement delivered on February 3, compelling President Peter Mutharika, first respondent in the presidential nullification petition case, and MEC, second respondent, to take the stay application to the Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal.
Should the Supreme Court grant a stay order, it would mean all the orders the Constitution Court gave, including an order for fresh presidential election within 150 days and subsequent preparations for it, would come to a halt, according to legal experts.
The stay order would also mean all steps Parliament took in preparation for the fresh presidential poll as directed by the court, including electoral Bills that were brought before Parliament and passed, would be null and avoid until the substantive matter is heard .
But if the Supreme Court declines to grant the stay order, preparations for the fresh presidential election would continue, with the Supreme Court proceeding to hear the substantive appeal case.
And should the court grant the stay order , Minister Everton Chimulirenji, the dethroned State vice-president following the nullification of the presidential election, will automatically reverts to his position.
The Constitutional Court judgement saw Chilima retaining the position of State Vice-President based on May 20 2014 presidential election when he paired with Mutharika as his running mate. The court also maintained Mutharika as President based on that 2014 ticket.
After falling out with Mutharika, Chilima went on to form UTM Party although he remained vice-president and contested for the presidency in the disputed May 21 2019 presidential election in which Mutharika was controversially declared winner.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :