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High Court throws Mec back to Supreme Court

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By Serah Chilora:

The High Court on Thursday dismissed an application by the Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) to vary judgement following the Constitutional court’s ruling to nullify the May 21 2019 presidential elections.

This follows an application by Mec for the variation of the court orders which were issued through the Constitutional Court on February 3, 2020.

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In its judgment, the High Court faulted the application by the commission, arguing it was made wrongly and has since been advised to appeal at the Supreme Court.

“The application is brought wrongly before this court as this court is the High Court of Malawi and not a subordinate court as envisage under the provisions under which the application has purportedly been made.

“A subordinate court under the said Act is clearly defined in Section 2 thereof as “any court subordinate to the High Court,” reads part of the judgment.

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“Having regard to order 111 of the Supreme Court of Appeal rules made under the Supreme Court of Appeal Act which provides for the control of proceedings by the Supreme Court of Appeal states that: “After an appeal has been entered and until it has been formally disposed of the court shall be seized of the whole of the proceedings as between the parties thereto, and except as be otherwise provided in this order, every application therein shall be made to the court and not to the court bellow,” reads the judgement.

Lawyer representing Mec, Tamando Tchokontho said they will proceed as directed by the court.

“We are proceeding to the Supreme Court,” he Said.

UTM lawyer Khumbo Soko confirmed the court had initially told lawyers from both sides to file papers by tomorrow [Sunday] in preparation.

He said as they were about to file the papers, they received another order suspending the earlier order.

“We got this order at first which required us to file our papers by Sunday. However, as we were preparing our response we got a second order superseding the earlier one which essentially dismissed the application by the Commission.

“On further reflection, the view of the ConCourt was that the application had been brought under wrong legal provisions and further that it had no jurisdiction over the matter since the matter is now in the Supreme Court,” Soko said.

UTM’s Saulos Chilima and Malawi Congress Party’s Lazarus Chakwera had in the aftermath of the May 21 2019 elections moved the courts to annul the presidential election conducted on the day, citing several irregularities.

The ConCourt granted their wish on February 3 this year after a protracted battle with the two respondents, President Peter Mutharika and Mec.

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