Thursday, April 18, 2024

Law expert says Mutharika Chimulirenji would be biggest loser if Malawi election is annulled

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A legal pundit Justin Dzonzi has said President Peter Mutharika will continue holding the sword of power whatever outcome the  Constitutional Court will make  on the disputed May 21 presidential elections case set to be delivered on Monday, February 2020.

The Constitutional Court (ConCourt) will deliver the landmark judgement where the opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) leader Lazarus Chakwera and UTM’s Saulos Chilima are challenging the results of last year’s presidential election.

On what may emerge after the ConCourt verdit, Dzonzi  who once chaired the Malawi Human Rights Commission, said five judges panel may dismiss the petitioners’ case or nullify the presidential result, and proceed to give specific directions or orders as to what should happen or what institutions, such as  Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC), should do.

He said in the event that the presidential election is cancelled, Mutharika would remain in office and only step down when another fresh election is conducted and that Chilima, who is the country’s immediate former vice-president, would revert to his post.

The legal expert said  judgment will either revert to the presidential results of the 2014 elections until fresh elections are held or continue with the status quo.

“If the court will not agree with the petitioners and rule in favour of the (MEC) and President Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika the status quo will remain as it is at the moment,” Dzonzi was quoted as saying by the State broadcaster MBC.

He was giving legal clarification  to assertions by some quarters of the society that the ruling will be a nullification of State President  Mutharika’s presidency and legitimacy to govern.

In comments reported by Nation on Sunday newspaper, Dzonzi said  in the event that the court nullifies the presidential election, new presidential candidates may emerge and contest and previous ones may choose different running mates or political parties may form alliances.

Dzonzi said if, indeed, the presidential election is nullified, the biggest loser would be the current Vice-President Everton Chimulirenji, as it would be considered that their election [with Mutharika] to the presidency never existed, and he may not enjoy benefits ex-vice-presidents enjoy after leaving office.

In that event, Dzonzi further said that legally, things would return as they were before results of the presidential election were announced on May 27 2019.

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