The High Court in Lilongwe yesterday has advised Malawi Congress Party (MCP) candidate for Lilongwe City South East constituency in May 20 tripartite elections, Ulemu Msungama, to resubmit a petition against parliamentary elections results of the constituency.
This comes as a twist in the tale since the same court ordered the Malawi Electoral Commission to do a vote recount for the constituency.
The court’s call for evidence comes days after the ballot papers that were earmarked for recount were gutted down by fire at Malawi Electoral Commission warehouse in Lilongwe.
Judge Esmie Chombo, who has taken over the case from Judge Lloyd Muhara, made the directive in her chambers on Tuesday. Both lawyers Emmanuel Chapo, representing Msungama, and Chancy Gondwe who is representing Bentley Namasasu, the one who was declared winner in the elections, confirmed the development in separate interviews.
Chapo said the directive has been made following the burning of ballot papers in an inferno at Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) warehouses in Lilongwe a fortnight ago.
“There were two applications before the court. My client wanted the court to discharge a stay order against vote recount. The other was by Mr. Namasasu who did not want the recount to take place. But that was done before Mec warehouses were gutted. We have observed that with the development, the two applications are redundant,” he said.
He said Chombo directed that by Friday Msungama should file the petition again and Namasasu should reply within three days after that. He said he judge directed that the process should take place within 14 days.
“The matter can no longer be resolved by recount. We believe that the Judge will make her determination based on the evidence brought before the court,” Chapo said.
Gondwe said Namasasu contested the recount order because his client was not party to the proceedings that led to the granting of the order.
“When the recount order was made, my client was not represented, yet he was declared winner of the elections. We will wait for our colleagues to file the petition and we will respond accordingly,” Gondwe said.