Elections Case Trial Begins
The Constitution Court sitting at the high court in Lilongwe has started trial of an electoral case where President of Malawi Congress Party, Lazarus Chakwera and his UTM counterpart, Saulos Chilima, want the court to nullify the May 21 elections.
Earlier in the day, lawyers of the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) led by the Attorney General, Kalekeni Kaphale, made an application for an early adjournment to six days. Kaphale argued they received sworn statement from Dr Chakwera late and therefore needed extra time to read and respond to them, an argument that was counter-argued by the petitioners, saying the argument was non-conceived The AG said they required three days for reading and another three days for responding, but the court granted them two and a half days, which are Saturday, Sunday and Monday morning instead of the six days applied for.
The ruling consequently led to the commencement of the trial that started after lunch break.
The trial has started with cross examination between Kaphale and Chilima. Among other areas, the attorney general asked Chilima on his qualifications, roles and appointment of MEC commissioners and roles and responsibilities of party monitors. In most instances, Kaphale asked Chilima to read electoral law provisions during the cross examination.
The case has since been adjourned to Friday morning when the cross examination between the two will proceed. The attorney general said in an interview after the adjournment that he is impressed with the way the case has started.
“Of course we are not that pleased that we are prevented from a bit of time to read over the materials that has been served on us yesterday but we have just to take it as it is. We have started the cross examination, we are still doing the preliminaries and we still have a bit of way to go,” he said.