Court says Chilima should not pay Mutharika and MEC

The Constitutional Court has ruled that UTM president Saulos Chilima should not pay costs for withdrawing 34 witnesses in the presidential elections case.

Chilima through lawyer Chikosa Silungwe last week withdrew all remaining 34 UTM witnesses in the case saying he wants the hearing to be expedited.

Lawyers representing President Peter Mutharika and Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) who are respondents in the presidential election case then demanded the former Vice President to pay costs they invested on research and preparations based on sworn statements filed by the withdrawn witnesses.

In its ruling today, the five-judge panel of the Constitutional Court has ordered that Chilima should not pay any costs for withdrawing the witnesses.

One of the judges, Justice Dingiswayo Madise said the costs are awarded at the discretion of the court. He noted that the elections case is a matter of public interest and the court will not determine any costs.

In the elections case, Chilima and Malawi Congress Party president Lazarus Chakwera are challenging the outcome of the May 21 presidential elections arguing that the results were affected by irregularities.

Meanwhile, the court has today started hearing Chakweras petition in the case.