The Constitutional Court has declined to smack slap costs on the first petitioner in the ongoing landmark presidential elections case United Transformation (UTM) for withdrawing 34 witnesses.

Lawyers for first and second respondent in the presidential case Malawi electoral Commission (MEC) and Peter Mutharika, filed application to the constitutional court arguing that they had labored and spent to prepare for cross examination of the 34 witnesses, hence the need for UTM to pay for the damages.

However, the court sitting in Lilongwe this morning has ruled out the application by the first and second respondents saying it was in the position of the court to make such orders hence dismissing the application.

Justice Dingiswayo Madise has said the costs are awarded at the discretion of the court. He said the court will not determine any cost as the matter is of public interest and costs should not be used to discourage people from seeking justice on the matter.

Legal team for UTM said they needed to put that into consideration whether it was accurate to pay for the damages.

Following the withdrawal of 34 witnesses, the second petitioner in the case Malawi Congress Party (MCP) leader Lazarus Chakwera is expected to stand in the witness box.

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ZIMENE MUMAKONDA

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