Mutharika appeal against Malawi poll verdict dismissed

APA-Lilongwe (Malawi)

Malawi’s Constitutional Court threw out an appeal by President Peter Mutharika and the country’s electoral commission against an earlier order declaring the outcome of last year’s presidential polls null and void.

Mutharika and the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) had applied to the Supreme Court for an order suspending the landmark February 3 judgement that nullified the results of last May’s presidential elections, which handed the former victory for a second and final term in office.

The court on Wednesday ordered a rerun of the presidential poll within 150 days after losing opposition candidates successfully proved that there were irregularities in the conduct of the elections.

In their applications, Mutharika and the MEC wanted the court to have the judgement suspended to allow the Supreme Court to deal with the appeal.

One of the arguments by Mutharika for seeking a stay in the Constitutional Court judgement was that there would be chaos if the fresh elections produce a different president while his appeal at the Supreme Court later succeeds since there would be two presidents.

However, the court dismissed this argument, insisting that Malawian citizens equally have the right to be governed by people elected through due electoral process and these rights are more important than the rights of those of candidates in an election.

In its application, the MEC contended that fresh elections would be costly and it would not be able to recover the amount if its appeal at the Supreme Court succeeded.

This was also dismissed by the court, which ruled that the electoral body would not use its own money and cannot suffer a loss.

Judge Dingiswayo Madise dismissed the application, arguing that Mutharika and the commission did not have sufficient grounds to have the judgement suspended.

"This court cannot stay the judgement for the reason of the appeal case at hand. The judgement will still stand as it was ruled," he said.


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