Lilongwe, June 19, 2019: The Constitutional Court sitting in Lilongwe has adjourned to Friday, June 21, the determination on the preliminary applications for the case in which Malawi Congress Party (MCP) led by Lazarus Chakwera and United Transformation Movement (UTM) led by deposed VP Saulos Chilima are disputing the 2019 presidential results.
The two losing candidates are challenging the May 21 presidential results, claiming the counting process had serious irregularities, hence the challenge in court.
Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) declared Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) candidate Arthur Peter Mutharika and his running mate Everton Chimulirenji as winners after getting 38.6 per cent of the votes, Dr Lazarus Chakwera of MCP got 35.1 per cent of the votes while Dr Saulos Chilima of UTM amassed 20.1 per cent of total registered voters.
Lawyers representing MCP’s Lazarus Chakwera, UTM’s Saulos Chilima, Malawi Electoral Commission and President Arthur Peter Mutharika presented their arguments to the court earlier today.
Lawyer for Mutharika who first defendant in the case is, Frank Mbeta, said the applications by MCP and UTM should be dismissed.
“The petitions are irregular, and they must be thrown out of court,” Mbeta told journalists in Lilongwe on Wednesday.
MCP lead Counsel, Titus Mvalo said: “The argument is that fees were underpaid like fining fee, instead of paying K21, 000 we paid K13, 000, therefor, the case be dismissed. But this could not be the rightful excuse for quashing the case.”
The court is expected, among other things, to decide whether hearing should proceed following an application by Mutharika asking the court to throw out opposition applications against the election results for allegedly being irregular, defective and lacking sworn affidavits by the petitioners.
Unlike on the first hearing day on June 14 when the court complained of noise interference during court proceedings, on this day (Wednesday) there was order as party supporters were not allowed to get nearer the court premises.
MCP President Lazarus Chakwera and his running mate in the ended election Sidik Mia, and former vice-president Khumbo Kachale were among those present at the court among other MCP supporters.
The case has since been adjourned to Friday, June 21, 2019.