African Court rebuffs government on time extension


The African Court on Human and People’s Rights in Tanzania has declined to extend the time for the Government of Malawi to file responses in a case in which former legislator for Nkhata Bay Central Constituency Symon Vuwa Kaunda is seeking justice at the Arusha-based court.

The State wrote the court on May 28 2021, seeking an extension of time by 15 days, claiming that it received the summons of the case on May 27 2021.

Consequently, the court has extended the time by 10 days, which means the State has up to June 6 2021 to file pleadings on whether it will contest the case.


Documents from the court, dated May 31 2021 and signed by registrar Edgar Abo, indicate that the decision has been made as the matter disserves urgent attention.

“The registry wishes to inform the Respondent State that, due to the urgency inherent in processing the request for provisional measures and the virtue of its power to grant such measures suomotu as prescribed under Rule 59 (1) of the rules, the court declines the extension of 15 days sought by the Respondent State.

“The Respondent State is granted an extension of 10 days which are deemed to have run from the day on which it avers having received the relevant documents that are on May 27 2021. The Respondent State is therefore expected to file its response no later than June 6 2021,” the document reads.


Efforts to speak to the Ministry of Justice proved futile Tuesday.

Application number 013/2021 was filed by Vuwa Kaunda and five other people on May 5 2021 and is seeking provisional measures to stop the implementation of the Supreme Court of Appeal judgement, including the holding of by-elections scheduled for June 29 2021.

A copy of the notice on the application from the court to the Malawi Government indicates that the summons was made on May 12.

The government is required to file its observation on the request for provisional measures within 10 days, transmit the names of its representatives within 30 days and file a response to the application within 90 days.

The Malawi Electoral Commission is, on June 29, expected to hold a parliamentary by-election in Nkhata Bay Central Constituency following an order by the Supreme Court of Appeal in April this year.

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