BLANTYRE-(MaraviPost)-Head of the Malawi’s Judiciary, Chief Justice Andrew Nyirenda on Friday certified as constitutional the May 21 Tripartite Elections petition cases filed by Malawi Congress Party (MCP) president Lazarus Chakwera and his UTM Party counterpart Saulos Chilima against Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) challenging the results.
Registrar of High Court and Supreme Court of Appeal Agnes Patemba confirmed the development.
This means the consolidated case has now been referred to the Constitutional court where five judges will hear it.
The judges to hear the case are justices Healey Potani, Mike Tembo, Dingiswayo Madise, Ivy Kamanga and Redson Kapindu.
The two opposition leaders separately filed their applications with High Court Lilongwe District Registry last week challenging results of the May 21 presidential election in which governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) President Peter Mutharika was declared winner with Chakwera and Chilima coming second and third, respectively.
In his order to have the case consolidated, Judge Charles Mkandawire said having perused through the two petitions and their supporting documents, he had observed they were similar in nature and relate to common question of law.
Meanwhile, UTM president Chilima has called on party supporters to remain peaceful and calm as they wait for the outcome of the court case.
“We must all be angry at the fraud committed against the nation. But let us not direct our anger towards the wrong direction thereby contributing to the further deterioration of the already miserable lives of Malawi,” said Chilima.
He said people must seek truth and justice in the only institution mandated by the Republican constitution to adjudicate over disputes in an independent and impartial manner.
“Let us, if we can, store that anger as we shall soon unleash it to lawfully defeat the evil forces that keep holding back this country,” said the former vice president.
This message is in contrast with what the Malawi Congress Party (MCP) is doing whose cadres have resorted to at times violent protests over the outcome of the poll results.
In the MCP petition, the party cited several irregularities and incidents which the party believed helped Mutharika win a “fraudulent” election.
Among the irregularities cited was the stuffing of ballot papers with pre-marked ballots, tampering with election results sheets through correction fluid widely known as Tippex and officials being caught with result sheets at home.
The affidavit by MCP identifies the country’s oldest political establishment as the first claimant in the case, Chakwera as second claimant and MEC as the defendant.
The affidavit, among others, states that there were “several rigging acts by members, supporters, sympathisers, officials and DPP agents in favour of the governing party which distorted the results to favour DPP against the votes and will of the people of Malawi.”
In its affidavit, UTM Party wants the presidential results nullified, arguing the polls were marred by a “plethora of irregularities” including bribing presiding officers and monitors, stuffing ofpre-marked ballots, altering result sheets and intimidation.