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Court moves to limit public

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The Constitutional Court hearing the presidential election case in Lilongwe will limit the number of people from political parties to witness last stages of the case in the courtroom.

Registrar of the Judiciary, Agnes Patemba, said they will communicate the final number of people who would be permitted in the courtroom in due course.

“Surely, we will have to limit the number of people because of space. Many people are interested in the case but not everyone can get in the courtroom,” she said.

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Malawi Congress Party (MCP) Secretary General, Eisenhower Mkaka, yesterday said the Judiciary has informed the party about the decision to limit the number of people allowed at the court.

He said MCP has received a slot of 10 people apart from lawyers and the second petitioner [party President Lazarus Chakwera] himself.

“Starting from For Thursday and Friday during the oral submissions, the court will allow 10 people, excluding the first petitioner and two of his security personnel. Of course, the 10 include witnesses. On our part, we have five witnesses, which means that we have five more slots,” he said.

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UTM spokesperson, Joseph Chidanti Malunga, whose party leader Saulos Chilima is the first petitioner, said although they were aware of the development, the Judiciary is yet to officially write them about the instructions.

Democratic Progressive Party spokesperson, Nicholas Dausi, whose leader President Peter Mutharika is the first respondent in the case, said he was not aware of the development, as he was in Geneva, Switzerland.

Meanwhile, the Judiciary is processing accreditations of journalists eligible to cover final stages of the case.

A memo from Media Institute of Southern Africa-Malawi Chapter, which has been contacted by the Judiciary to facilitate the process, says all media houses and freelancers must submit names of journalists who will cover oral submissions and eventual judgment.

“International journalists are also urged to submit their names to Misa-Malawi. They will, however, still be required to officially get accredited by the Ministry of Information. National identity cards will be used for identification of Malawian journalists during the accreditation process,” the memo reads.

Chakwera and Chilima petitioned the court challenging the May 21 presidential election results saying they were marred by irregularities.

The court case attracts many people, including party followers, legal practitioners and human rights activists who follow proceedings outside the court premises.

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