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DPP, State tussle in elections case

CHAKAKA NYIRENDA (left) —Our arguments stand

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Wednesday tussled with Attorney General (AG) Thabo Chakaka Nyirenda in the election case in which they want the court to declare the June 23 2020 presidential election a nullity following the firing of four Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) commissioners.

The AG presented in the High Court, sitting as a constitutional court in Blantyre, eight preliminary objections against beginning of substantive matters in the matter.

Among other things, the AG said the matter was arising from a decision made by High Court Judge Kenyatta Nyirenda; hence, the High Court, although sitting as a constitutional court, cannot reverse the decision of another High Court.

He also said it is DPP which created the mess and it cannot come back to benefit from their own unlawful deeds.

He said, although they have come as seeking seeking interpretation of the law, it is in fact an electoral case which was supposed to be brought before the court as a way of petition in seven days.

The AG also said the parties suing and being sued are improper, saying the decision to fire the four commissioners was made by the court and the best way was for the fired commissioners to appeal at the Supreme Court of Appeal.

Nyirenda said, although DPP has responded to the issues they raised, it is his conviction that his arguments stand.

“What they have said does not hold. We will be able to respond to them tomorrow but we have demonstrated that they have no sufficient interest, they are not the right persons to sue, they are suing a wrong party and that most of the issues they are dealing with were already dealt with by the High Court,” he said.

DPP lawyers Charles Mhango and Samuel Tembenu said DPP did not create any mess as it was not an appointing authority but the then president Peter Mutharika and that, although a three-month notice required was not given, the AG was given enough time to prepare.

“This is not an electoral case as the AG is saying. He is just rushing to the consequential orders but we are seeking the interpretation of the Constitution in as far as the two decisions to rescind appointment of two commissioners and the court’s decision to fire all the four commissioners nominated by the DPP is concerned,” Mhango said.

The matter has since been adjourned to today at 9am.

DPP wants court-sanctioned 2020 fresh presidential election and parliamentary as well as local government by-elections managed by the seventh cohort of Malawi Electoral Commission nullified after the High court in June ruled that four of the commissioners were not duly elected.

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