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Vuwa Kaunda tussles with Mec over K600 million claim

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Sangwani Mwafulirwa

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Member of Parliament for Nkhata Bay Central, Symon Vuwa Kaunda, has said he has instructed his lawyers to sue the Electoral Commission (Mec) over its refusal to settle his K600 million claim.

Last month, Vuwa Kaunda wrote Mec, demanding K600 million— within 14 days—from Malawi electoral body as compensation for making him suffer economic, physical and psychological loss by making him go to the polls twice.

The commission rejected Vuwa’s demands.

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In a telephone interview, Kaunda said: “I have instructed my lawyers to start the process of demanding the compensation from Mec for the psychological and physical torture and economic loss I suffered when they nullified my victory in the May 21 2019 parliamentary election.”

Kaunda’s lawyer, Leonard Mbulo of Mbulo Attorneys At Law, confirmed getting instructions from Vuwa Kaunda.

“My client, Vuwa Kaunda, has now instructed me to proceed to file the claim for K600 million against Mec. This follows Mec’s position [as it is] refusing to pay him the said sum of K600 million,” he said.

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Vuwa Kaunda believes that he was forced to incur additional costs for the by-election on the basis that it was Mec that mismanaged the election.

Mec Director of Legal Services David Matumika Banda said the liability to pay the demanded amount was denied.

“The reasons for the position taken by the commission were made clear to the claimant’s lawyers,” he said.

Vuwa Kaunda retained his parliamentary seat in June this year in a by-election following the Supreme Court of Appeal’s decision to nullify results of the May 21 2019 parliamentary election in the DPP lawmaker’s constituency, claiming that the election was marred by irregularities after his closest contender, Raphael Joseph Mhone of People’s Party, challenged results in the court.

Mec Director of Media and Public Relations Sangwani Mwafulirwa said it was premature to comment on the issue.

“It is premature for Mec to comment since this is just an intention. When the court documents are filed and served on Mec, we will respond accordingly and appropriately,” Mwafulirwa said.

In an earlier letter to the commission, Vuwa Kaunda’s lawyers argued that their client’s re-election came at a huge cost.

“The second victory by our client has not come on a silver platter as our client has suffered psychologically, physically and economically to vindicate himself that he won the election in 2019 free and square. All this suffering came as a result of negligence and recklessness by your institution, as a duty-bearer, to follow the laid down procedures as laid down in the PPEA [Parliamentary and Presidential Elections Act] on how to conduct an election.

“Had it been that your institution was diligent in the discharge of statutory duty provided in the PPEA, our client’s victory in 2019 could not have been nullified by the Supreme Court of Appeal on 21st April 2021,” the letter read.

The letter added that, as a result, Mec was liable for all the losses he suffered.

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