Lawyers representing UTM President Dr Saulos Chilima, who is the first petitioner in the current election case, have slapped Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) with a 75 million Kwacha legal bill after the Supreme court ordered them to pay costs of yet another lost in a series of court case loses.
Mutharika and MEC suffered another embarrassing loss in court when the Supreme Court of Appeal sitting in Lilongwe refused to dismiss the on-going post-May 21 tripartite elections case. MEC and Mutharika’s lawyers, miserably failed to convince seven judges of the Supreme Court of appeal to overturn a ruling that was made by five judges of the Constitutional Court. The case resumed on Friday after the lower court judges gave way to the Supreme Court to decide.
In a letter to Churchill and Norris, Chilimas legal representatives, Nicholls and Brookes wrote, “In respect of the ruling in which the Supreme Court dismissed your client’s appeal and ordered costs for the respondents in the above matter yesterday, 15th August 2019 please note that the party and party costs are in the moderate sum of K75,000,000.00.” The letter included a demand of payment within seven days.
Mutharika and MEC are spending millions of taxpayer’s moneys to defend themselves against allegations of widespread irregularities in the May 21 elections. Most importantly, MEC is doing all it can to maintain Mutharika in power.
The futile effort at the Constitutional Court and the Supreme Court to have the case dismissed despite obvious indications that they would not succeed were just a waste of taxpayers’ money. It is a shame that while millions of Malawians are suffering with poverty, MEC and Mutharika have the luxury of spending millions of taxpayers’ money to deny the same taxpayers electoral justice.
The election case has been marred with numerous delaying tactics and attempts to have the case discontinued. Yet, Mutharika and his supporters claim he won the elections fairly. If there is any merit in their claims, why were they afraid of defending themselves in court?
The truth is that, the previous months have been extremely tough for MEC and Mutharika. They have tried so hard to ensure that the rot at the centre of Mutharika’s ‘victory’ should not come out. But Malawians led by the opposition and civil society leaders have refused to let them get away with cheating.
At the centre of the petitioner’s court victories are top notch lawyers. As the case continues, I have no doubt that the 1st and 2nd petitioner lawyers will have a field day roasting their counterparts who are defending the indefensible.
Chilima and UTM maintain an admirable record of having never lost a case since UTM was formed. It just shows that it pays to always do your homework before doing anything. With Chilima’s new politics and strategic thinking, it’s no longer business as usual. Slow, corrupt, arrogant and tired leaders like Mutharika have no chance with the new wave of young and responsible politicians that are emerging in Malawi.
Unfortunately, it is costing millions of taxpayer’s monies to pump sense into leaders who are using Malawi government as a retirement home. With unnecessary court cases, MEC and Mutharika are 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.
Disclaimer: Views expressed in this article are not necessarily the views of the Publisher or the Editor of Maravi Post