Court rejects DPP candidate’s application for rerun

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The High Court has dismissed a petition by Democratic Progressive Party’s Helen Buluma who wanted a rerun in Nsanje South West arguing that she lost because she was assaulted by her opponent’s supporters.

Buluma lost the May 21 parliamentary elections in the constituency to independent candidate Eurita Ntiza Valeta.

Buluma: A court has rejected her petition

On Election Day, the DPP candidate was attacked by a mob as she was about to vote. In the elections, she came second with 5,899 votes while Valeta got 12,942 votes.

Buluma challenged the results in court saying she was assaulted by Valeta’s bodyguards and also accused the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) of allowing Valeta to be involved in running the elections since Valeta’s sister was an assistant presiding officer at one polling station.

Initially, Buluma complained to MEC but the body told her to show evidence and she decided to appeal to the High Court.

The DPP member wanted the court to declare that the elections in the constituency were not free and fair, to annul the election, order for a rerun and disqualify Valeta as a candidate in the rerun.

Buluma’s lawyer argued that after she was assaulted at the polling centre her opponents were telling voters that she had been disqualified resulting into some of her voters being forced to vote for other candidates.

She claimed that this irregularity affected the outcome of the election hence asked the court to cancel the result.

In his ruling, Justice Jack N’riva argued that Buluma did not present enough evidence to move the court to declare the vote null and void.

He said there was no proof that voters who failed to vote to Buluma voted for Ntiza and that the result would have been different even if the irregularities were not there.

“It seems to me that the petitioner wanted the court to believe that the assault she suffered led to the reduction of her votes. The ground must fail because the petitioner has failed to demonstrate how the assault affected her votes.

“My determination is that I have found that the election of the candidate complained of, Eurita Ntiza Valeta, not be void,” N’riva said.

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