Atupele Muluzi on handout campaign strategy

The court ordered fresh presidential election has exposed Atupele Muluzi’s hypocrisy because of his desperation to become Malawi’s Vice President, a post that would see him become president if old and frail Mutharika gets incapacitated.

Atupele is questioning the MK9.8 billion election case legal bill which Dr Saulos Chilima and Dr Lazarus Chakwera’s lawyers are demanding from Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) after winning the case at both the High Court and Supreme Court. Speaking at Euthini in Mzimba, Atupele said the demand is “pure theft, and if the petitioners truly love the country, they should pay their lawyers using personal money.”

This show of hypocrisy and ignorance is embarrassing. Someone who is looking for the position of Vice President of the country should be able to understand simple court processes.

Chilima and Chakwera went to court to seek justice after MEC’s demonstration of incompetence and lack of respect for election laws. The courts agreed with them and ordered MEC to pay costs. How can that be theft? Only a dumb person who attempted to get a law degree but failed can say that.

Before the hearing of the main case, MEC used many delaying tactics and this led to the ballooning of the costs.

To say that costs, caused by MEC’s deliberate tactics aimed at stopping the wheels of justice, should be borne by those looking for justice, is to say that justice is only for rich people who can afford long time court processes.

For the record, Chilima asked MEC to nullify the elections soon after the announcement of the results citing numerous irregularities.

If MEC wanted to save tax payers money, it could have simply listened and nullified the elections. But the arrogant MEC dismissed Chilima’s advice thinking it is above the law.

What followed was a series of court hearings after Chilima and Chakwera took the matter to court. Before the bill that Atupele is questioning came, MEC actually already coughed millions of Kwacha’s in preliminary hearings whose objective was to stop the election case from ever being heard.

Lawyers representing Chilima, who was the first petitioner in the case, slapped MEC with a MK75 million legal bill after the Supreme Court ordered them to pay costs of a loss in a series of court case loses.

Mutharika and MEC suffered the loss when the Supreme Court of Appeal sitting in Lilongwe refused to dismiss the case.

The futile efforts at the Constitutional Court and the Supreme Court to have the case dismissed, despite obvious indications that they would not pay dividends, were just a waste of tax payers money. Where was Atupele to talk about such careless waste of money? He was in China eating noodles!

Even after losing the main case in a five judge unanimous ruling at the High Court, MEC still went to appeal at the Supreme Court, an act which was heavily criticized by the Supreme Court judges as unnecessary for a referee and a waste of tax payers money. Where was Atupele to condemn such waste of financial resources?

On appeal, MEC actually entered a MK600 million suspicious contract with some street South African lawyers who were paid MK300 million before even getting accepted to practice in Malawi.

This is on top the millions that MEC paid it’s Malawian private lawyers who represented it at both the High Court and Supreme Court. Where was Atupele when MEC dubiously hired the South African lawyers who were actually not needed? He was quite because it was his fellow DPP thieves involved in the scam.

Such show of hypocrisy and cheap politicking is exposing Atupele as just another desperate man who will say anything to get attention of the voters. Unfortunately, in this digital age, voters can easily see through such lies. Information is available at most voters fingertips, and it is easy to know hypocrites who have no idea on how to entice voters.

To think that Chilima and Chakwera, should pay millions of Kwacha’s in legal fees for MEC’s incompetence and clear bias in favor of DPP is not only unfair, it is to discourage people from seeking for justice in future.

The Supreme Court saw this and correctly slapped MEC with the costs. MEC should simply follow the court orders. Anyone who feels aggrieved by the courts decision is free to go back to court and see if there is a chance for the court to change it’s directive. Otherwise, shut up.

Nobody should fear seeking for justice because of fear of personally paying for courts costs even after being proven right. Responsible public officers should simply do their job properly and avoid unnecessary court cases.

With unnecessary court cases, MEC is draining Malawi’s treasury. Such money could have been used to buy medicines, build classroom blocks and many other things to improve the livelihoods of poor Malawians.

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