Malawi Law Society to join polls case


By Feston Malekezo:


Malawi Law Society (MLS) has said it is contemplating joining the case in which Malawi Congress Party (MCP) has petitioned the High Court to nullify May 21 presidential election results.

MLS was party to the case in which MCP had obtained a court injunction restraining Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) from announcing results of the election, as friends of the court [Amicus Curiae].


The society’s general secretary, Martha Kaukonde, said, upon considering the petitions, MLS would apply to the court to be admitted as an interested party, as the matter is of high public interest.

“It is the court which will decide whether MLS should be added or not. On our part, we only make the application. Last time, the court allowed us as these matters appear to be matters of high public interest. Upon considering the petitions, MLS will see whether they are matters that we can join. At that point, we will make the applications to be admitted,” she said.

Kaukonde said MLS had not seen MCP’s petition. “The decision will be made once we see the application and consider what input we can make on the law,” she said.


MCP has applied to the High Court to nullify the just ended presidential election results, after noting irregularities which marred the electoral process. On Sunday, MCP secretary general, Eisenhower Mkaka, said the party had dismissed an application for a judicial review which was scheduled to take place on their previous demand to recount votes in some districts. MCP quotes section 114 (1) of the Parliamentary and Presidential Elections Act which says that an appeal shall lie to the High Court against a decision of Mec confirming or rejecting the existence of an irregularity and such appeal shall be made by way of a petition, supported by affidavits of evidence, which shall clearly specify the declaration the High Court is being requested to make by order.

Some of the countries that successfully nullified presidential results include Ukraine in 2004, Austria in 2016 and Kenya in September 2017.

Asked on the possibility of supporting both UTM and MCP on the issue of nullification of the presidential results, Kaukonde said there was need to scrutinise both petitions and come up with a concrete decision.

“An Amicus Curiae [friend of the court] comes in to make submissions on key legal issues that they feel the court should consider in making it’s decision. As previously stated, we will apply to join as Amicus Curiae once we scrutinise their applications and see if there is need to join” she said.

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