The Constitutional Court has thrown out the Democratic Progressive Party’s application for the nullification of the 2020 Fresh Presidential Elections, describing it as an abuse of the court process and an attempt by the DPP to benefit from its own illegality.
The court has delivered its ruling on the matter today following preliminary objections raised by the Attorney General.
On several occasions in reading the ruling, the five judges of the Constitutional Court described the proceedings as re-litigation and faulted the DPP for bringing the application to court in the manner it did.
DPP went to court demanding a constitutional interpretation after the High Court in Lilongwe – hearing Malawi Congress Party (MCP) vs President of Malawi – ruled that four Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) commissioners were appointed illegally.
The DPP argued that since the four commissioners were part of the commission that managed the 2020 presidential elections, then the elections cannot be valid.
Ironically, DPP nominated the four commissioners instead of three and they were appointed by former president Peter Mutharika who is also the DPP leader.
Attorney General (AG) Thabo Nyirenda, in his objections, argued that the DPP wanted to benefit from its own illegalities. But DPP lawyers said the important thing was that the Constitutionalism of Malawi was set to benefit from the interpretation.
Today, the court has agreed with the AG, saying nullification of Fresh Presidential Election as asked by the DPP will have the effect of having the DPP benefit from its own illegality as status quo in the presidency will revert to the period before the fresh elections.
“We cannot imagine a more classic example of one seeking to benefit from their own illegality than this.
“What we have are illegal nominations by the DPP followed by illegal appointments by the former President who incidentally is also the president of the DPP,” the court said.
The court also found that the issues DPP took to the court were already disposed of by the court in Malawi Congress Party (MCP) vs President of Malawi and what was needed after that case was an appeal, not a fresh case as commenced by the DPP.
“We find that it is an abuse of court process for the DPP to bring this application in the manner they have done.
“We have established that this matter is not only an appeal in disguise but also re-litigation. The fact that the DPP is crying out constitutionalism and rule of law does not change the nature of proceedings before us into a constitutional matter and does not compel us to sanction abuse of court process,” the court said.
The court then ordered the DPP to pay costs to the Attorney General.