Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) has filed an appeal at the Supreme Court against the High Court’s December 20 2019 ruling ordering a re-run in Mangochi West Constituency Parliamentary elections.
Mec spokesperson, Sangwani Mwafulirwa, Wednesday confirmed the development.
“The opinion of the commission is that the High Court had not considered some [pieces] of the evidence and material facts which were presented by Mec. And our opinion is that had the High Court considered all evidence and material facts, definitely it could have maintained the decision of the commission,” he said.
Mwafulirwa said Mec is waiting for the Supreme Court to set a date for hearing of the matter.
On May 23 2019, Mec declared Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Parliamentary candidate for Mangochi West, Geoffrey Chiwondo, the winner after amassing 4,527 votes against 4,518 votes for his main challenger Simeon Harrison (independent candidate) obtained.
However, Harrison successfully moved the High Court to order fresh elections citing massive irregularities that marred the vote counting and tallying; hence, the nullification of the results.
However, Wester Kosamu, lawyer representing Harrison believes the grounds for appeal by Mec do not hold water.
Kosamu said during the trial of the matter, the petitioner asked Mec Chief Elections Officer, Sam Alfandika, to present documents which they used to determine the winner of the elections.
“However, Mec did not produce the documents as requested. So, I wonder why they say the court did not consider their evidence. But all in all, we will continue contesting the matter knowing that they have a right to appeal the case. But in my opinion, I don’t think they have valid grounds for appeal,” he said.
In a related development, Mwafulira said Mec commissioners would meet to discuss how to conduct by-elections in Lilongwe South and Liwaradzi Ward in Balaka North Constituency.
Liwaradzi Ward fellow vacant following the death of its councillor in September 2019.
Mwafulirwa said there has been a number of meetings with stakeholders regarding the Lilongwe South by-elections and indications were that all stakeholders are interested in holding the elections.
“So, at the moment what we are waiting is for the commission to meet and discuss on holding the two by-elections together. We are exploring the possibility of holding the two by-elections together because by doing that it becomes cost effective,” he said.