Court rules in Symon Vuwa-Kaunda’s favour
The High Court sitting in Mzuzu has ruled in favour of Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) candidate Symon Vuwa- Kaunda in the Nkhata Bay Central Constituency parliamentary election case which former leader of People’s Party (PP) in Parliament Raphael Mhone was disputing.
Judge Thomson Ligowe dismissed Mhone’s petition Monday with costs.
Ligowe said the petitioner failed to provide sufficient evidence before the court, citing among other things, his monitors failed to file written complaints in logbooks provided by the first respondent, Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec).
Mhone told the court that his monitors were denied access to verify results, for them while others were beaten up in some centres such as Chisu.
In the petition, Mhone further said some ballot boxes were delivered to the constituency tally centre unsealed.
“A logbook is a good proof that an issue was recorded at a polling centre… monitors of political parties need to be vigilant. A complaint made in writing can never be refused…the logbook exhibited in the court has nothing to show,” he said.
Mhone, a lawyer by profession who lost to Vuwa-Kaunda by eight votes, refused to comment after the ruling.
But commenting on his triumph, Vuwa- Kaunda, said he was ready to continue with development projects that were started by Mhone.
He said he was yet to quantify how much he had spent on the court process, adding that it was stressful.
“This has been a stressful period, numerous travels, missing Parliament proceedings and so forth, but all in all, I am happy that I have won. We are still in good terms with him and that is why you saw me greeting him after the judge pronounced the ruling. I am ready to continue development that he never managed to finish, for the goodness of the people I am serving,” Vuwa-Kaunda said.
Due to limited space in the court, many people who came to hear the ruling were sent down the court’s reception where live speakers were set for them to follow the proceedings.
There were jubilations amid DPP praise songs outside the court soon after Ligowe finished reading out the two-hour judgement.
Recently, the High in Mzuzu concluded another election case in which former member of Parliament (MP) for Karonga Central Constituency Frank Mwenifumbo lost to incumbent legislator Cornelius Mwalwanda.
On Friday, the High Court sitting in Blantyre threw out a petition filed by Samuel Chinyani who lost to Joyce Chitsulo in Mwanza West parliamentary race.
The court said the petitioner lacked seriousness in pursuing the case.
Other elections-related cases lingering in the courts are for Nsanje Central, North and Chikwawa East constituencies in which Malawi Congress Party (MCP) shadow MP Kafandikhale Mandevana, Enoch Chizuzu and Foster Thipiwa are jointly challenging the election of Francis Kasaila, Esther Mcheka Chilenje and Sam Khumbanyiwa, respectively.
Independent shadow MP for Chikwawa Central Constituency George Qoma is also challenging the election of Salim Bagus.
Another MCP shadow MP Gerald Kazembe is challenging the election of DPP’s Ralph Jooma in Mangochi Monkey Bay Constituency.
Meanwhile, a case in which independent shadow MP Sam Harrison is challenging the election of DPP’s Geoffrey Chiwondo returns to the High Court in Blantyre today.
The Constitutional Court sitting in Lilongwe is hearing a case in which MCP leader Lazarus Chakwera and his UTM counterpart Saulos Chilima are seeking nullification of May 21 tripartite elections results citing alleged irregularities.
Chilima closed his testimony on Thursday after four out of scheduled 38 witnesses were paraded. Today, Chakwera is expected to start giving his testimony.