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Saulos Chilima, former MPs’ cases deferred

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The High Court in Lilongwe Monday deferred to a later date hearing of an application by a group of concerned citizens who want the results of the May 21 Parliamentary and Local Government elections nullified.

The same court has also put on hold the case it was hearing in which Vice President Saulos Chilima filed against the current Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) commissioners managing the July 2 presidential election.

The court, however, allowed an application by 42 sitting Members of Parliament (MPs) to join as parties to the case.

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Among others, a group of 183 concerned citizens, led by Frank Kuyokwa, want the court to declare that all Members of Malawi Parliament elected during the May 2019 tripartite elections be deemed not to have been duly elected, arguing that they were elected by the same incompetent Mec that handled the nullified May 21 presidential election.

The concerned citizens are also requesting the court to order that the fresh election ordered by the Constitutional Court be conducted concurrently with that of MPs.

High Court Judge, Ruth Chinangwa, told lawyers in her chambers that hearing of the case will come after the outcome of the presidential election results appeal case currently awaiting judgment.

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Lawyer for the concerned citizens, Wesley Mwafulirwa, and lawyer for the current MPs, Titus Mvalo, confirmed the development in an interview Monday.

“We sought an adjournment to pend the case for the judgment from the Supreme Court. So we will wait for the judgment from the Supreme Court and then we will move on.

“The main issue is that the concerned citizens are saying that if the elections were not properly managed and these elections were done concurrently, according to Section 80 subsection 1 of the Constitution, what it means is that it the tripartite elections were not properly managed and therefore we should have fresh elections not just for the president but even Members of Parliament,” Mwafulirwa said.

Mvalo, in a separate interview, said Justice Chinangwa asked the applicants to address some questions within 14 days of the Supreme Court judgment on how the case would proceed.

The Constitutional Court in Lilongwe on February 3 nullified results of the May 21 presidential election on the basis that they were marred by widespread, systematic and grave irregularities.

The court then ordered that a fresh election be held within 150 days from the day of its judgement.

Chilima’s lawyer, Chikosa Silungwe, said Judge Chinangwa has postponed the hearing of the case until the Supreme Court delivers its judgment on the appeal which Mec and President Peter Mutharika filed against the Constitutional Court’s judgement.

“As a concerned party, we have accepted what the judge has told us today. We will wait until the Supreme Court gives its verdict on the appeal case.

“We still maintain our stand that the current Mec commissioners are incompetent to run the fresh election after the court openly said they failed people of this country in how they handled the tripartite elections,” Silungwe said.

Lawyers representing Mec, which declared Mutharika winner of the nullified presidential election, were out of reach to give their comment on the latest development.

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