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Attorney General suitability queried in DPP election case

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Charles Mhango

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) election case may hit a fresh bump following revelations that Attorney General (AG) Thabo Chakaka Nyirenda is working without taking oath of office.

DPP’s lawyer Charles Mhango, who also once served as AG, said Thursday in the High Court, sitting as a constitutional court in Blantyre, he was surprised to learn that Nyirenda is working without taking oath of office, something he did during his time.

But Nyirenda said he does not have to take oath of office as if he were a Cabinet minister.

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“You have seen that they cannot locate the law which says I need to take oath of office. I have been acting for the State all this time and they have not brought this matter until now and, for your information, I have worked under attorney generals who did not take oath of office like Justice Dr Jane Ansah,” he said.

But asked if it were a matter of law or practice, Mhango said he would come back to the court to explain if there is a law or if it is just a matter of practice.

“Office of the Attorney General is provided for in the Constitution and, to my knowledge, every person holding a constitutional office must take oath of office and that is why ministers, members of Parliament or commissioners of the Malawi Electoral Commission take oaths of office.

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“I will come back to the court to address the court on whether there is a law and, if yes, which law it is. If that will be the case, then all what the AG has been doing will be void,” he said.

Yesterday was for the State to reply to responses made by DPP on AG’s preliminary objections.

Nyirenda insisted the application before the court was a waste of time and abuse of court processes.

“We maintain that this is an electoral matter which had to be brought as a way of petition within seven days of announcing results of last year’s election results. They do not have sufficient interest and they cannot be allowed to benefit from their own unlawful act, among other things,” he said.

The matter has since been adjourned indefinitely.

Both sides have been given 14 days to file written final submissions.

DPP wants court-sanctioned June 23 2020 presidential election and parliamentary as well as local government by-elections managed by the seventh cohort of Malawi Electoral Commission nullified after the High Court in June ruled that four of its commissioners were not duly elected.

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