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Judge reserves ruling in Mec CEO case

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High Court Judge Mandala Mambulasa Monday reserved his ruling in a case where the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is, by way of judicial review, challenging the appointment of Andrew Mpesi as Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) Chief Elections Officer saying he is not apolitical as the advert for the vacancy required.

DPP, which is being represented by lawyers Felix Tambulasi and Bob Chimkango, faced off with Attorney General (AG) Thabo Chakaka Nyirenda, who is representing Mec alongside its Director of Legal Services David Matumika Banda, and Justin Dzonzi, who is representing interested party Mpesi.

Nyirenda told the court that the application for leave of judicial review and injunction cannot be granted as the DPP lacked sufficient interest, adding that the case is not ripe as it is based on fears of what may occur in future.

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The AG also said there are other alternative remedies for the party, among other arguments.

“We are saying that the DPP must show the court that their constitutional rights have been violated and there is none. They are a mercenary claimant making a mercenary application which cannot be entertained. Again if you look at what they are saying, we will not have a commission because everyone here has political affiliation and that is why the Public Service Act says nobody should be treated in accordance with their political affiliation.

“The current commission, which is also required to operate independently according to law, has three members appointed by the Malawi Congress Party (MCP) and one of them was actually a witness of the MCP in the presidential election case. Two of the three who were nominated by the DPP— Francis Kasaila and Emmanuel Fabiano— were actually members of Parliament and Cabinet,” he said.

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However, Tambulasi insisted that Mec erred in appointing Mpesi who, he claimed, was not apolitical according to the standards the commission itself had set.

He directed the court to Mpesi’s social media posts which, he said, suggest that Mpesi is affiliated to the MCP and President Lazarus Chakwera.

“When deciding this application my lord, imagine a football match between Nyasa Big Bullets versus Mighty Mukuru Wanderers and you have one Yona Malunga as referee,” he said.

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