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Court to rule on stay appeal today

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The Supreme Court of Appeal is today expected to rule on whether or not to grant Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) a stay order against the Constitutional Court judgment that nullified the May 21 2019 presidential election.

Among other arguments, Mec told the court that it does not have enough time to hold another presidential election in 150 days from February 3 when the Constitutional Court delivered its verdict.

“We have made our arguments that the 150 days within which the High Court had ordered [that there should be fresh election] are not enough in terms of funding and also the requirements of the law, not only in the electoral process, but also in the procurement process,” Tamando Chokotho, one of Mec’s lawyers told reporters after yesterday’s hearing.

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He said according to the calendar of events, a fresh election could be possible in October.

But lawyers for Malawi Congress Party (MCP) and UTM opposed the arguments, saying government has already set aside K29 billion for the fresh polls.

MCP lawyer, Titus Mvalo, said their argument was that the matter was of public interest.

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“There are no proper grounds for granting the suspension. In fact, the case is in the interest of the public. Even the public can contribute to the preparation of the election,” he said.

UTM lawyer, Khumbo Soko, said Mec has no serious basis for its application.

.According to Soko when someone is applying for a stay, they should assess if they are going to suffer harm or injury that will be very difficult to repair.

During Wednesday’s hearing, two South African lawyers believed to have been hired by Mec were spotted at the court.

According to documents that The Daily Times has seen, Mec has hired the lawyers from Mboweni Maluleke Attorneys to help in the appeal case.

According to the documentation, the lawyers will be paid $788,500 (about K500 million).

In a letter to Chief Justice Andrew Nyirenda, Malawi Law Society did not object to the coming in of the South African lawyers in the case.

Hearing of the actual appeal case is set for April 15 2020.

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