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Malawi Law Society joins polls case

By Jameson Chauluka:

The Constitutional Court, sitting in Lilongwe to look into the case of the disputed May 21 presidential election results, has admitted Malawi Law Society (MLS) to join the case as friends of the court.

The elections case returns to court today when a panel of High Court judges— Healey Potani, Mike Tembo, Dingiswayo Madise, Ivy Kamanga and Redson Kapindu—is expected to hear the applications, where Malawi Congress Party (MCP) and UTM are asking them to nullify results of the presidential polls.

MLS Secretary, Martha Kaukonde, said they would not take sides in the case.

“We are not making arguments for the petitioners or the respondents. As friends of the court, we look at the skeleton arguments in the submissions that will be presented by all the parties and, if we see aspects of the law that have not been tackled, we will be informing the courts to say “there are also these laws which you can consider”. We are coming in as helpers of the court so, sometimes, the court can ask for our input,” she said.

Kaukonde said, sometimes, petitioners or respondents only give laws which favour their cases and leave out others.

“The law gives us powers to join cases or, in some cases, pursue our own legal proceedings if the matter is of public interest,” she said.

On May 27, Malawi Electoral Commission Chairperson, Justice Jane Ansah, declared President Peter Mutharika the winner of the presidential polls after amassing 1,940,709 votes, representing 38.57 percent while Lazarus Chakwera of MCP got 1,781,740, representing 35.41 percent.

Ansah said UTM president Saulos Chilima was third in the presidential race with 1,018,369 votes or 20.24 percent of the votes cast.

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