Advantage DPP as Judge refuse to dismiss Election Nullification Case

By Brenda Kaonga

The Constitutional Court has ruled that it will not dismiss a case in which former ruling DPP is seeking nullification of Lazarus Chakwera’s election.The development followed a request by Thabo Chakaka Nyirenda, Attorney General to dismiss the case over failure to comply with rules after the court observed that the documents which were filed by DPP lawyer Charles Mhango were signed by another person Burton Mhango.

Nyirenda described the development as forgery and criminal in nature.However, Mhango apologized and asked the court to treat the issue as an irregularity which can be rectified.He described the development as a slip of the pen.

DPP lawyer Charles Mhango

In his ruling Judge Sylvester Kalembera, chairperson of a panel of five judges hearing the case, said the anomaly was an irregularity, which can be cured or rectified.Kalembera has also faulted Mhango for bringing faulty documents being an experienced lawyer.

The case has since been adjourned to later today .Malawi’s Constitutional Court agreed to hear a challenge to last year’s presidential election rerun from the opposition Democratic Progressive Party.  President Lazarus Chakwera defeated the DPP’s Peter Mutharika in the rerun after the court nullified the 2019 election, which Mutharika had won.  The DPP argues the rerun should also be nullified after the High Court quashed the appointment of four DPP commissioners to the Malawi Electoral Commission. 

The Constitution Court has set 29th and 30th September,2021 as days it will hear an application by Attorney General to dismiss the case.The Attorney General Thabo Chaka Nyirenda wants the case to be dismissed before the hearing of the main case on the following grounds:1.The application by the DPP was not supposed to come before the high court sitting as a Constitutional Court.According to Nyirenda, the decision that DPP is challenging emanated from a judgement by a High Court Judge Kennyata Nyirenda who nullified the appointment of Linda Kunje and Jean Mathanga.Nyirenda has argued that DPP was supposed to challenge the decision in the Supreme Court of Appeal.2.DPP is not a proper party to challenge the decision.

According to Nyirenda, a presidential candidate of the party is supposed to challenge the election. He cited the Presidential Election Petition Case which was commenced by President Lazarus Chakwera and Vice President Saulos Chilima leaders of MCP and UTM respectively: 3: The law provides seven days for an aggrieved party to challenge declared results of an election and that DPP filed its application when the seven days expired.4: DPP created the irregularity on the two Mec commissioners and it can not turn and ask the court to reward it for its own irregularities.Nyirenda argued that the court can not be in a business of rewarding irregularities.

Charles Mhango, lawyer for the DPP has said the party will bring five witnesses which may be trimmed to three. Some of the witnesses are:1. Jean Mathanga2. Linda Kunje3. Francis Mphepo.Meanwhile, Judge Sylvester Kalembera who is chairing a panel of five judges hearing the case has said the case will be heard on 29th and 30th, if the IFMIS will release resources for among others judges coming from outside Blantyre.Kalembera said the court has been informed by the registrar of the High Court Appeal that the IFMIS is facing challenges in processing payments