Embarrasing, Repetitive- Supreme Court

The Supreme Court of Appeal has unanimously up-held the verdict of the Constitutional Court in the presidential election case effectively stamping authority on the order for a fresh presidential election.

Throughout the six-30 minute pronouncement, the seven-judge panel led by Chief justice Andrew Nyirenda took turns to expedite deliver of a verdict in which most-lower court decisions were sustained.

At the end of delivery of the unanimous judgment, one of the seven judges judge Twea brought in a unique personal view of how the matter would have been dealt with.

He suggested that the presidency should have been dissolved with the ruling of the Constitutional Court and instead a care taker leadership put in its place.

Renowned lawyer Justin Dzonzi has described the Supreme Court ruling as landmark observing that while is has generally agreed with the views and orders of the lower court, it has also made some changes.

Dzonzi told Zodiak that in his view, the determination renders the on-going voter registration exercise as not critical as the coming election is now a rerun and not a fresh election as earlier ordered by the court.

Among other issues, the Supreme Court has stamped authority on the High Court definition of a majority in an election agreeing that it stood for 50+1 the number of voters in an election. The court said this would help minimize manipulation of the electoral system by minorities to rule over the majority.

The court, like earlier did the High Court, discussed operations of the office of the Attorney General observing that given its constitutional role, it did not have to represent MEC in the election’s dispute.

The Supreme Court has discussed the same of the Malawi Electoral Commission observing that as a duty bearer, MEC did not have a right to petition courts in matters where it was acting as a referee.

The court has disagreed with the High Court saying unlike the 150 days earlier given for the rerun to be held, it held the view that the right duration should actually have been 60 days. But since the 150 days are already rolling, the Supreme Court has reluctantly absorbed the 150 day period for the rerun.

The Supreme Court has recommended that the people to contest in the rerun are those who participated in the presidential election in the disputed election and were also aggrieved.

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