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Govt challenges Vuwa’s Arusha court application

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By Samuel Kalimira

Malawi Government has on Friday written the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights in Arusha, Tanzania that it is has no jurisdiction to hear a case which former Democratic Progressive party (DPP) Symon Vuwa Kaunda has brought before it.

Kaunda is seeking the court’s review of Malawi’s Supreme Court of Appeal’s judgment which nullified his election as Member of Parliament for Nkhata Bay Central Constituency.

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The Malawi court ordered fresh elections which the Malawi Electoral Commission has set for June 29.

But speaking in an interview, Attorney General Chikosa Silungwe said Kaunda has not done well on the matter because the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (AfCHPR) is not an appellant.

Silungwe said the Malawi government will wait to hear from the court on the way forward after hearing from both the complainant and the State.

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“Our response is that what Mr. Kaunda has filed is an appeal and that court is not an appellant court because it has no jurisdiction,” Silungwe said.

Kaunda said however that elections are a human rights issue, hence his case qualifies to be in the African Court on Human and People Rights.

He said the Government of Malawi has an obligation to respect the Arushabased court because it was established by African Union of which Malawi is a member.

“The Attorney General is duty bound to make sure he complies with orders of court because this is a court which was established by countries within African Union.

“Human rights were violated and we wanted to seek justice. That is why we approached the African Court on Human and People’s Rights,” Kaunda said.

But one of the private practice lawyers in the country Christone Ghambi said section 104 of Malawi Constitution provides that Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal has the highest powers whose judgement cannot not be overturned by any other court, local or international.

Initially, the case was commenced by Vuwa Kaunda’s rival Raph Mhone of the People’s Party in the High Court where he contested the 2019 Parliamentary elections results, citing irregularities. Mhone lost the case and appealed to the Supreme Court of Appeal which nullified the results of the Parliamentary elections.

 

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