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Supreme Court nullifies 2014 results

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A panel of three Supreme Court judges sitting in Lilongwe Monday upheld the High Court order to have parliamentary election re-run in Lilongwe City South East Constituency.

The development means that the constituency has no Member of Parliament.

The ruling which Justices Lovemore Chikopa, Edward Twea and Anthony Kamanga have delivered is in reaction to the complaint that Malawi Congress Party (MCP) 2014 parliamentary election candidate for the area, Ulemu Msungama made in 2014.

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On June 2 2014 Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) declared Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) candidate, Bentley Namasasu, winner of May 20 2014 parliamentary election but Msungama challenged the outcome.

An attempt to recount the votes in some selected centres failed in July 2014 after fire destroyed Mec warehouse where the ballot papers in contention were being kept.

In October 2014, High Court Judge, Esmie Chombo, established that there were irregularities and that such irregularities could affect the election result.

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Chombo ordered Mec to conduct fresh election in the area but Namasasu challenged the decision and sought an interim stay order in the Supreme Court until the appeal was heard.

Among other queries, Msungama questioned the disproportionate number of null and void votes and shortage of 100 ballot papers which were unaccounted for.

In the May 2014 election, Mec declared that Namasasu got 10,956 votes against Msungama’s 10,854, a difference of 98 votes.

Msungama, who was in the area celebrating with some MCP sympathisers, said he is excited and thanked God for the ruling.

“The re-run is what I wanted and I am happy that God has delivered it through the Supreme Court. I am ready for the re-run and people in the Constituency should be ready for the election,” Msungama said.

The court has also ordered Namasasu to shoulder all legal expenses that Msungama has incurred in the process of seeking justice.

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