Malawi court snubs MEC, Mutharika

The Constitutional Court has thrown out applications by Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) and President Peter Mutharika’s applications for stay of the 3rd February ruling that nullified the 2019 Presidential Elections.

The court delivered its ruling this afternoon in Lilongwe following a hearing on Wednesday morning.

In his application, Mutharika argued that his constitutional rights will be infringed upon if the appeal at the Supreme Court succeeds and the stay is declined. Mutharika also argued that he will lose money in campaigning for fresh elections if the elections are held but later his appeal succeeds.

The court, however, ruled that citizens also have the right to be governed by people elected through due electoral process and these rights are more important than the rights of those who voluntarily decided to be candidates in an election.

The court also dismissed Mutharika’s argument that there would be chaos if the fresh elections produce a different president and his appeal at the Supreme Court succeeds since there would be two presidents.

According to the court, it is highly unlikely that the fresh elections will take place before the Supreme Court of Appeal makes its determination on the appeal filed by MEC and President Peter Mutharika.

“In the unlikely event that elections take place before the appeal is determined, there will not be chaos as suggested by the respondent (Mutharika) because the Supreme Court of Appeal will exercise inherent powers to make consequential orders to reflect the proper constitutional order in relation to the presidency,” the court said.

In its application, MEC argued that fresh elections will cost K43 billion and this amount will not be recovered if the MEC’s appeal at the Supreme Court succeeds.

However, the court ruled that MEC will not use its money and cannot contend that it will suffer loss.

“If any loss is to be suffered, it will be the people of Malawi who would have suffered such a loss as a consequence of the second respondent’s (MEC) mismanagement of the May 21 presidential elections,” the court said.

The court then dismissed MEC’s application for the stay of the 3rd February ruling.

Speaking after the ruling, Khumbo Soko, one of the lawyers for Saulos Chilima who is one of the petitioners, said the decision is a continuation of the monumental decision handed out last week.

“We are glad that the court has thrown out the applications,” said Soko.

On his part, Mutharika’s lawyer Charles Mhango said he will await guidance from his client.

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