Lead lawyer for immediate past vice-president Saulos Chilima in the historic elections petition case at the Constitutional Court in Lilongwe , Dr Chikosa Silungwe, explained the absence of two lawyers Marshal Chilenga and Khumbo Soko to allay fears they have abandoned the first petitioner in the matter.
Social media has been awash with “propaganda” that Soko and Chilenga have abandoned ship and most lawyers are quitting Chilima’s legal team.
But addressing the court, Silungwe said he just wanted “to put on record” that Soko was attending to another matter to Commercial Court Division in Blantyre while Chilenga was appearing before High Court representing another client in a criminal matter.
He said both lawyers would be back to join the Chilima team.
The chairperson of the five-judge panel, Healy Potani, said the court had taken note of that and hopes the lawyers present would represent in the best way possible the interest of the first petitioner.
The case has attracted scores of lawyers with Malawi Congress Party (MCPP presidential hopeful Lazarus Chakwera alone—who is the second petitioner in the case, represented by lawyers from 10 legal firms, including Mordecai Msisha, Likongwe and Company, Juris Chambers, Lloyds Associates, Odeide Tax Lawyers, Albaart Chambers, Chris and Legal, Kawelo Lawyers.
President Peter Mutharika, DPP’s presidential candidate and eventual winner of the disputed official results announced by MEC, is represented by, among others, lawyers from Mbeta and Co, M & M Global, Pious Attorneys, Makiyi, Kanyenda & Associates and Mhango & Co.
Both MCP and UTM are challenging the validity of the election results which declared Mutharika winner—accusing the ruling party alongside officials within MEC of rigging the elections in Mutharika’s favour.
According to the official MEC results, Mutharika won the elections by 1 940 709 votes against Chakwera’s 1 781 740, but the opposition says the elections were marred by several irregularities, among them, stuffing ballot papers with pre-marked ballots, tampering with election result sheets through correction fluid known as Tippex and officials keeping result sheets at home.
Chilima’s lawyers told the court earlier that MEC failed to discharge its duty and it should, therefore, be considered that no election that could duly elect a president of Malawi under Presidential and Parliamentary Act (PPA) was conducted.
The two petitioners are arguing that the tripartite elections lacked credibility and must be declared null and void. The petitioners, in the case being covered live by some local broadcasters, contend that Mutharika “won a fraudulent election” fraught with irregularities, including use of correction fluid and being found in possession of results sheets at home.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :