As the country anxiously awaits conclusion of hearing and subsequent judgement of the presidential elections petition case, Nyasa Times understands that a total of 33 electoral related cases have been concluded in the High Court with the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) coming out clean.
Since the preparations for the May 21 Tripartite Elections started, the Commission has been dragged to court on various issues but the bulk of the cases arose from eligibility of candidates to contest the elections and challenges of the results of the elections.
Records obtained from the High Court indicate that as of November 20 this year a total of 45 elections cases had been filed of which 33 cases have been completed and 11 cases are ongoing.
Out of the 45 cases filed, a total of five cases involved the nomination process of candidates, only four cases challenged Local Government Elections results and two (now consolidated into one) are challenging presidential elections. The rest are challenging parliamentary results.
Of the 33 concluded cases a total of 18 cases were dismissed for various reasons like being misconceived, lack of evidence, failure to prove, being brought prematurely, being made out of time, lack of prosecution or non-attendance by the petitioners.
Some of the notable figures who had their cases dismissed include musician Limbani Kalilani aka Tay Grin, former parliamentarians Everson Makowa Mwale, Linfred Nawena, Ralph Mhone and Dr Jessie Kabwila, Peoples Transformation Party (Petra) president Kamuzu Chibambo and former cabinet minister Grace Chiumia,
Two petitioners in the name of Beatrice Nyakumwenda and Frank Mwenefumbo had their cases also dismissed with costs awarded to the Commission.
A total of seven cases have been withdrawn by the petitioners themselves. Of the 11 cases that are still active, in two cases the petitioners have files notices of withdrawal. Some of the notable figures that have withdrawn their parliamentary election results cases include Atupele Muluzi who is president of United Democratic Front, Reverend Kaliya who also contested as independent presidential candidate and former parliamentarian Makwenda Chunga,
Regarding the five cases involving the nomination process, information sourced from the High Court shows the first to sue was Ras David Chikomeni Chirwa with the support of the Centre for Human Rights Education Advice and Assistance (CHREAA), after the poll body rejected his nomination papers because of inadequacies.
The second one was filed by Tikonze Peoples Movement against the MEC decision to allow Dr Cassim Chilumpha to contest on the party’s ticket. Dr Chilumpha was struck off from the list of the approved presidential candidates.
One Margaret Chimpukuso of Peoples Party lost her case where she was also challenging the Commission rejection of her nomination because of delayed payment of nomination fees.
Mr Medson Nkhoma also lost his case in which he sued MEC for disqualifying him as an independent parliamentary candidate for Dowa South East Constituency because he was still working at the Road Traffic Directorate despite presenting nomination papers.
In 2014 a lot of people rushed to the court but also lost their cases except for Ulemu Msungama whose cases saw the court ruling for a fresh election in Lilongwe.
Commenting on this, MEC spokesperson, Sangwani Mwafulirwa said the Commission was paying detail to every case regardless of the attention from the public and would love to see that they all come to their logical conclusion.
“So far all the people have accepted the outcomes from the court cases concluded. No one has come up to incite violence or disparage the Judiciary. We hope this spirit will continue when the presidential elections case comes to a conclusion” he said.