Court floors AG on a scheme to bar UTM in 2019 elections

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Plans by the Malawi Attorney General (AG) to stop UTM from taking part in 2019 Tripartite Elections have been dismissed by the High Court.

Saulos Chilima

Chilima: They are amateurs

The AG and the Registrar of Political Parties had applied to the High Court to appeal in the Supreme Court against the High Court order to have UTM registered as a political party.

The Registrar of Political Parties had initially turned down an application to have UTM registered as a political party on grounds that the movement, being led by Malawi Vice President Saulos Chilima, had used abbreviations.

But on 2nd November, the High Court ruled against the decision and order to have UTM registered within seven days effective September 2018.

But the Attorney General and the Registrar of Political Parties sought leave from the High Court to have its approval of the registration of UTM to be reviewed by the Supreme Court of Appeal.

Today, Judge John Chirwa has again ruled in favour of UTM, saying the applicants do not have enough grounds to refer the case to the Supreme Court of Appeal. The court also dismissed an inter-parte hearing slated for next week Tuesday between the grieved parties.

“There are no grounds advanced in the sworn statement in support of the application upon which this Court would be persuaded to deprive a successful, litigant of the fruits of his litigation… The application is thus declined” reads Judge Chirwa’s ruling.

With today’s ruling, it means the initial ruling to have UTM registered still stands.

“If the Attorney General is not satisfied with the ruling, he can appeal at the Supreme Court of Appeal. The Supreme Court can determine whether to deregister the party or not,” Registrar of High Court, Agnes Patemba, told one of the local media.

Following last week’s ruling, Chilima branded government and the office of registrar of political parties as amateurs.

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