The erstwhile Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has dragged President Lazarus Chakwera and Secretary to the President and Cabinet Zangazanga Chikhosi to court, where it is seeking nullification of the government’s decision to fire two Malawi Electoral Commission commissioners Linda Kunje and Jean Mathanga.
The government fired Kunje and Mathanga based on the Supreme Court of Appeal and High Court sitting as Constitutional Court rulings, which raised questions about the competence of the commissioners that managed the May 21 2019 presidential election.
Later, Public Appointments Committee of Parliament found them incompetent, in relation to the disputed presidential election.
The DPP has dragged Chakwera and Chikhosi to court as a way of judicial review, asking the court to declare the decision illegal and unconstitutional.
“…communication [that Kunje and Mathanga’s appointments were rescinded] does not cite the first respondent [the President] as having made the decision to rescind the appointment of the two commissioners nor that the first respondent has removed the two commissioners from office in accordance with provisions of the Constitution of the Republic of Malawi at all.
“Under Section 75 of the Constitution, it is the first respondent who has the powers to remove commissioners of the Electoral Commission from office and only on recommendation of Public Appointments Committee of the National Assembly on the grounds of incapacity or incompetence in the performance of duties of the office of the Commissioner and not otherwise,” reads the statement of grounds for judicial review which The Daily Times has seen.
DPP lawyer Charles Mhango confirmed making the application, saying Justice William Msiska of the High Court would hear an application on whether they could commence the judicial review or not on Thursday, April 22.
Meanwhile, Malawi Congress Party (MCP) has applied to join the judicial review in question, saying they are an interested party.
The party’s lawyer Abison Chitukula confirmed the development, saying they are waiting for a determination of their application to join the case.
The court dismissed the party’s earlier application to join a case in which Kunje and Mathanga sued the government demanding offer letters of appointment and their benefits as Mec commissioners.
After being rebuffed by the court, MCP opted to revive another judicial review case they commenced and discontinued last year.
Chitukula said the party would proceed with the issue of judicial review although the government has fired the two commissioners.
Both Kunje and Mathanga, in separate interviews, also said they were proceeding with the case in which they are pressing for their offer letters and benefits.