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Court restores Malawi Congress Party case

The High Court in Lilongwe on Friday restored a case in which some district chairmen of the Malawi Congress Party are challenging changes party President, Lazarus Chakwera, made to their National Executive Committee (Nec) last year.

After the restoration, hearing of the case has been scheduled for today and tomorrow.

Judge Charles Mkandawire, dismissed the case on Monday following non-attendance of the chairmen and their lawyer, Wesley Namasala.

Namasala, later the same day, applied for restoration of the case. According to a ruling, dated September 2 2016, which The Daily Times has seen, Namasala initially, applied for restoration using Order 32 Rule 5(4), an order that deals with chamber matters.

But the ruling says it was after the application was changed to be under Order 35 Rule 2 of the Rules of the Supreme Court that it was considered by the court.

“I have listened very attentively to both submissions. Being a court of equity and using my last sense of justice, I have decided to allow the plaintiffs to rely on this concept which as a matter of practice, courts have been allowing. I, therefore, order that let the matter herein be restored,” reads Mkandawire’s ruling.

In the ruling, the Judge said he could not address the issue of injunctions [stopping holding elections at all levels of the party, pending determination of the courts on the case].

“With regards to the issue of the injunction, as it was not specifically raised by the plaintiffs in their application to restore the matter herein, I don’t think that I have to make a ruling on that. Having dismissed the matter, it automatically meant that the injunction was also discharged,” reads the ruling.

It says fresh application should be made on the issue.

Mkandawire, who heard the application, will continue hearing the case.

Following August 27, 2015 Nec reshuffle, which Chakwera announced, some district chairmen, led by Dedza Valley Chairman, Lackson Khamalatha, protested the changes, by calling for an emergency convention so that it regularises the changes made.

The party’s failure to call for the emergency convention prompted the chairmen to take the matter to court late the same year.

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