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Court to determine polls case Friday

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By Faith Kadzanja:

The Constitutional Court sitting in Lilongwe will Friday deliver its ruling on whether to proceed with a case in which Malawi Congress Party (MCP) president Lazarus Chakwera and his UTM counterpart Saulos Chilima are challenging the May 21 presidential election results.

This follows Wednesday’s hearing of an application by President Peter Mutharika of Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) that the court should dismiss petitions which Chakwera and Chilima made to the court.

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Lawyer representing DPP, Frank Mbeta, said they, among other things, told the court that MCP and UTM petitions were irregular and must be struck out.

“We are simply saying that the petitions are irregular; they have not complied with the law; therefore, they must be struck out,” he said.

Lawyer representing MCP, Titus Mvalo, said they would wait for the court’s decision.

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“They say the petitions had been irregularly filed. Their argument is that the filing fees paid was underpaid— instead of K21, 000, K13, 000 was paid— and, therefore, there is no filling of the petitions. We responded and so the ruling of the court will be on Friday,” he said.

The court started its proceedings at around 9am and, at around noon, the court had a 15-minute break.

During the day, the court heard the preliminary applications by Mutharika and second respondent, Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec).

The court also heard arguments by MCP and UTM.

Malawi Law Society and Women Lawyers Association also presented their arguments.

The court, in the morning, heard DPP side of the electoral case and heard from UTM and MCP lawyers in the afternoon.

Chakwera and his party’s supporters Wednesday marched to the court from Mbowe Filling Station in Lilongwe while singing in what was dubbed ‘justice march’.

Later in the day, Chakwera went to Parliament Building.

High Court judges—Healey Potani, Mike Tembo, Dingiswayo Madise, Ivy Kamanga and Redson Kapindu—are hearing the case.

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