By Chancy Namadzunda:
The High Court of Malawi sitting as a Constitutional Court has dismissed a case in which the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) applied for the nullification of the election of President Lazarus Chakwera and Vice-President Saulos Chilima on the basis that the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) which oversaw the process was illegally constituted.
Further, DPP prayed parliamentary as well as local government by-elections managed by the seventh cohort of MEC should be rendered void because they were presided over by some commissioners who the court had ruled that they were not duly elected.
This follows a ruling by High Court Judge Kenyata Nyirenda who nullified the appointment of Linda Kunje and Jean Mathanga as MEC Commissioners in a case of Malawi Congress Party (MCP) vs President of the Republic of Malawi.
However, five Constitutional Court Judges led by Chairperson Sylvester Kalembera have found the matter frivolous, vexatious and a waste of Court’s time.
Reading a ruling on preliminary objections by Attorney General (AG) Thabo Chakaka Nyirenda, Judge Kalembera said that DPP lacked locus standi on the case and tried to smuggle an appeal through the back door.
He further said the matter was an academic one, which the Court could not handle.
“The Claimant is trying to re-litigate through the backdoor. In a popular parlance: he is trying to take a second bite at the cherry. This we will not condone,” said Kalembera adding that all the issues that were brought before the Court were already tackled in the case of Malawi Congress Party (MCP) vs President of the Republic of Malawi.
Having found that DPP President Peter Mutharika, who was then President of Malawi, illegally appointed the said MEC commissioners, the application to nullify the 2020 elections as well as parliamentary and local government by-elections does not stand because doing so will benefit the one in the wrong
“For this Court, to allow the Claimant to benefit from own wrongdoing, would be tantamount to aiding and abetting illegality. This, this Court will not do,” he said
The case has been dismissed with costs.