The African Court on Human and People’s Rights in Arusha, Tanzania, has dismissed former Democratic Progressive Party Nkhata Bay Central parliamentarian Symon Vuwa Kaunda’s application for judicial review on the Supreme Court of Appeal’s decision to nullify parliamentary election results for the constituency.
According to the ruling, Kaunda wanted the court to issue an order directing the State, which is the respondent in the case, not to conduct the by-election until a decision on the application is fully determined.
Vuwa Kaunda’s argument in the application was that Gertrude Mnyenyembe, Daniel Phiri, Mpata Tayani, Khasi Msinawa and Kayafa Phiri— who are representing over 17, 000 voters from Nkhata Bay Central Constituency— had their rights violated following the decision by the Supreme Court of Appeal to nullify results for the May 23 2019 parliamentary election.
But, in the court’s ruling, its president Imani Aboud and registrar Robert Eno have said it is impossible to suspend the by-election because Vuwa Kaunda did not reveal a situation of potential harm to the application that warrants the adoption of that measure.
“Consequently, the court declines to exercise its powers under Article 27(2) of the Protocol and Rule 59(1) of its Rules to order the Respondent State to stay the conduct of the by-election ordered by the Supreme Court of Appeal for the Nkhata Bay Central Constituency pending the determination of the application on the merits… for these reasons the court unanimously dismisses the applicants’ request for provisional measures,” the determination reads.
This means Malawi Electoral Commission would, as scheduled, hold the election on June 29.
Vuwa Kaunda was not available for a comment but one of his lawyers, Leonard Mbulo of Mbulo Attorneys at Law, said Sunday that he was yet to see the judgement.
However, Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation Executive Director Michael Kaiyatsa said Kaunda did not have a strong case.
“We are not surprised by the judgement made by the Arusha-based court because, all along, Vuwa Kaunda did not have a strong basis to say that his rights were violated,” he said.