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Judiciary searches for elections case venue

The judiciary is looking for a suitable venue where the Constitutional Court is expected to hear the May 21 elections case, Malawi News can reveal.

This comes as the judiciary feels the space at High Court in Lilongwe is too small to accommodate lawyers and members of the public who might be interested to follow the case.

Registrar of the High Court and Supreme Court of Appeal spokesperson Agnes Patemba confirmed that they are looking into that and once the place has been identified, it will be communicated.

“We are looking into that, once we get proper venue, we will let you know,” Patemba said

But sources at the judiciary have confided to Malawi News that discussions are going on between the judiciary and the National Assembly officials over the issue.

Assistant Clerk of Parliament responsible protocol and public relations Leonard Mengzi said he was not aware of any discussion by Parliament secretariat and the judiciary on the issue.

University of Malawi’s Chancellor College political analyst Ernest Thindwa, has said it could be proper for the trial to take place at any other place that could be ideal for lawyers to effectively handle the matters.

“I see no problem for the judiciary to look for conducive venue for the trial, I am of the view that lawyers and judges require conducive environment and, for example, if the trial can take place at the National Assembly chambers, it would be a good place,” Thindwa said.

In the case, Malawi Congress Party president Lazarus Chakwera and his UTM counterpart Saulos Chilima are challenging a decision by Malawi Electoral Commission of declaring Democratic Progressive Party candidate Pater Mutharika winner of the elections.

Five judges – Healey Potani, Mike Tembo, Dingiswayo Madise, Ivy Kamanga and Redson Kapindu – will, from Thursday, start to hear the case.

If the court orders a fresh election, Malawi will be the second country in Africa that judges have nullified a national poll.

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