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Peter Mutharika, Mec file appeal

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WANTS JUDGEMENT SUSPENDED— Ansah

President Peter Mutharika who was the first respondent in the elections case and the Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) have appealed against the judgement made by the Constitutional Court in Lilongwe on Monday nullifying the May 21,2019 presidential election.

Mutharika through his lawyer Frank Mbeta filed the appeal Friday on 18 grounds.

“The learned judges erred in law holding that in the 2019 Presidential Election there was an undue return and an undue election of the 1st Appellant without any evidence of the alternative results showing that the returned results of the election for the 1st Appellant to the office of the president of the republic was false or that there was falsification of aggregation of votes or arithmetical errors or evidence that the 1st was declared the winner when someone else should have been declared,” reads part of the grounds filed by Mutharika.

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APM argues that the learned judges erred in law in finding that in the return and election of the first appellant to the office of President of the Republic, there were irregularities, without regard to the law on irregularities and established legal principles on irregularities in an election and without considering the principle of materiality on the overall result of the election.

On the other hand, MEC has applied for a stay order, pending hearing of the judgement made by the Constitutional Court in Lilongwe on Monday nullifying the May 21, 2019 presidential election.

In an application that Malawi News has seen and sworn by the commission’s Chairperson Jane Ansah, MEC is among others seeking extension of the time to conduct fresh elections but also accusing the Constitutional Court of acting outside its jurisdiction.

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The commission has filed the appeal on about 139 grounds that the court erred in its view.

“The learned judges erred in finding that the 2nd respondents breached the prescriptions on form 6 of the Parliamentary and Presidential Elections (forms) Regulations as these issues were not stated in the petition and did not form part of it or of the petitioners supporting sworn statements and could not therefore arise as an issue to be determined by the court.

“The court erred in dealing with the issue of the power of the commission to delegate tasks to staff including the Chief Elections Officer as this issue was never raised in any of the petitions or supporting sworn statements,” reads part of the list of grounds of appeal.

It further says the court erred in finding that commissioners were material witnesses and that the failure to call them as witnesses compromised the Electoral Commission’s case.

The commission through Ansah argues that the judgement for fresh elections within a period of 150 days is unattainable looking at the processes involved to conduct an election.

“Furthermore, the order of the court for a fresh election to be held in 150 days disregards the fact that an election requires funding and preparation which may not be possible to attain within the said 150 days.

“As a commission, we are of the view that the election can only be held within at least 261 days on 28 October, 2020 if we operate on an extended calendar,” she argued.

On Monday, the Constitutional Court sitting in Lilongwe annulled President Peter Mutharika’s May 21 2019 re-election for what the court described as widespread, systematic and grave irregularities.

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