By Mandy Pondani:
Speaker of the National Assembly, Catherine Gotani-Hara, has won a case in which People’s Transformation Party (Petra) president, Kamuzu Chibambo, challenged her election as Mzimba North East Constituency Member of Parliament (MP).
Chibambo, who finished on fourth position in the parliamentary race, asked the court to nullify the results on allegation that the election was marred by irregularities.
But High Court Judge, Justice Thomson Ligowe, sitting at Mzuzu Registry, on Tuesday dismissed the application saying Chibambo, through his lawyer Wesley Mwafulirwa, failed to prove their case.
“None of the petitioner’s allegations has been sufficiently proved, let alone how each of the same affected the result of the election in this case. I, therefore, have no reason to make any of the declarations sought by the petitioner. The petition is dismissed…,” Justice Ligowe’s order reads.
The court also said Chibambo failed to bring sufficient evidence supporting the claim that Gotani-Hara campaigned beyond regulation time and invited chiefs and their subjects on the eve of polling day when she gave them money and coerced them to vote for her.
“The petitioner also alleges that the electoral commission grossly and unjustifiably failed to discharge its constitutional duty when it failed to respond to his letter to disqualify candidates and nullify the election…but the petitioner has brought no evidence with regard to this,” the ruling adds.
Gotani-Hara’s lawyer Moses Chinkhuntha said he was happy that his client’s victory has the court’s backing.
Gotani-Hara, who made history by becoming the country’s first-female Speaker of Parliament, beat six other contestants in the parliamentary race after amassing 9,529 votes.
Chibambo’s lawyer Mwafulirwa said he was yet to read the court’s judgement.
Malawi’s Presidential and Parliamentary Elections Act stipulates that election cases are not appealable to the Supreme Court.