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Election dispute case ends today

Chief Justice Andrew Nyirenda

Samuel Tembenu

A panel of seven Supreme Court judges led by Chief Justice Andrew Nyirenda will today deliver its final determination on the disputed May 21 2019 presidential election.

The judgment comes exactly nine months after the case started on August 8 last year. It also comes just over three months after the Constitutional Court nullified the May 19 presidential election and ordered that a fresh poll be held within 150 days.

It is expected that the appeal judgment will give directions on how future presidential elections should be held as well as how the winner should be determined.

The judgement may also determine the future of Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) Chairperson, Jane Ansah, and her fellow commissioners’ stay at the electoral body.

In addition, today’s judgement is expected to have a bearing on the future of political alliances that have emerged in recent months in the run-up to the fresh election.

Among others, during the appeal, Samuel Tembenu, who is lawyer for first appellant President Peter Mutharika, argued that the Constitutional Court, which on February 3 nullified the presidential election on the premise that they were marred by widespread, systematic and grave irregularities, failed to subject the evidence of irregularities to quantitative approach to show how the valid votes of the election were affected.

Among other things, Tembenu also faulted the Constitutional Court, saying the issue of 50%+1 did not arise in the petitions and that the court erred by adopting the dictionary meaning of what ‘majority’ means.

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