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Court rebuffs MCP aspirants

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By Macdonald Thom:

DECLARED WINNER—Chimwendo-Banda

The High Court in Lilongwe has dismissed an application for an injunction restraining the Malawi Congress Party (MCP) from recognising Dowa East Member of Parliament (MP), Richard Chimwendo-Banda, as winner of primary elections conducted in the constituency in August last year.

Damaliso Sosola and Lazaro Benson Chinsewu dragged the party to court, following primary elections conducted in the constituency on August 21 2018, arguing that they were not given a proper notice of the elections.

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In a ruling on the matter, Judge Charles Mkandawire says, having carefully studied sworn statements and other documents, he was satisfied that the two did not establish serious issues to be tried.

“Accordingly, the objection by the defendant and the interested party are sustained. The prayer for an injunction to restrain the defendant from recognising any purported winner of the elections as its parliamentary candidate for Dowa East Constituency in the forthcoming tripartite elections is not granted,” reads the ruling, dated December 12 2018.

It adds: “This therefore means the defendant as of now should recognise the interested party, one Richard Chimwendo-Banda, as its parliamentary candidate. The claimants to pay costs of this action.”

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Sosola and Chinsewu had told the court that, on August 19, the party told the aspirants that primary elections would be held on August 21, which was a two-day notice.

The two also told the court that they wrote the party’s director of elections, Elias Chakwera, on the issue.

But Chimwendo-Banda told the court that Sosola had deliberately twisted facts in the sworn statement submitted to the court. He said, in March 2018, Sosola got involved in the process leading to the holding of primary elections and was given a full list of all area committees by the secretary to the district committee.

He also said the August 19 2018 communication was not the first one, as elections were initially slated for June and later for July but were postponed due to the voter registration exercise which was taking place at the time.

He also said the claimants chickened out when it was so apparent that they would lose the primaries.

Chimwendo-Banda won the elections after getting1,250 votes while Sosola and Chinsewu got one and two votes, respectively

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