The Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal has heard all arguments from appellants and respondents in an appeal against a Constitutional Court judgement that overturned last year’s presidential election and Chief Justice Andrew Nyirenda said when adjourning that the judgement will passed at a later date.
President Peter Mutharika of Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) are challenging the February 3 2020 judgement of the five-judge panel of the High Court of Malawi sitting as the Constitutional Court which nullified the presidential election, citing irregularities in the results management system.
The court witnessed the battle of wits with the MEC’s private practice lawyer Tamando Chokhotho and lawyers representing Mutharika, former Justice Minister Samuel Tembenu who was supported by Frank Mbeta, on one side, against the wit of Senior Counsel Modecai Msisha lawyer for Malawi Congress Party (MCP) president Lazarus Chakwera and Dr Chikosa Silungwe, the lead counsel for Saulos Chilima of UTM.
The Supreme Court of Appeal bench of judges mostly watched the hearings with minimal interventions but rejected all parties to file additional documents to support their skeleton arguments given the time frame, according to Justice Edward Twea.
After a day long hearing submissions —a panel of seven judges: Chief Justice Andrew Nyirenda, other Justice of Appeal (JA) Edward Twea, Anaclet Chipeta, Lovemore Chikoka, Anthony Kamanga, Frank Kapanda and Rezine Mzikamanda —are now faced with making the most momentous decision that will be a final determination.
Justice Nyirenda said judges have not yet come up with the date for the judgement, but he has assured parties that the court will do everything possible to deliver the judgement as soon as possible.
The Chief Justice commended both appellants and respondents “for coming up prepared” which helped the court to see through the proceedings.
He said: “We will ourselves adjourn the proceedings to the nearest possible future. We will not commit to a date but we realise how important these proceedings are to the welfare and well being of our nation.
“We will do everything possible to ensure that we revert in the soonest possible time. We will give it our best and therefore that we want to assure everybody that we will get back as soon as we can.”
He also thanked people who attended the proceedings in the public gallery under social distancing measures of coronavirus and the security officer for protecting all.
Nyirenda adjourned the proceedings to a date to be announced later.
Lawyers Nyasa Times spoke to, who are involved in the case, said they could not predict when judgement on the case could be expected but hoped it will indeed be as soon as possible.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :