Court dismisses MCP case

The High Court in Lilongwe yesterday dismissed the case in which some disgruntled Malawi Congress Party (MCP) members were calling for an early convention in protest of party president Lazarus Chakwera’s style of leadership.

In May this year, some MCP officials—including district chairpersons and committee members—dragged the party to court, demanding an emergency convention asserting serious irregularities over how Chakwera runs the party and appointed some national executive committee (NEC) members.

MCP officials addressing the press on Monday
MCP officials addressing the press on Monday

Immediately after the court pronounced the dismissal of the case, citing failure by the complainants to show up at the court in time, the party leadership held a press briefing at its headquarters in Lilongwe.

Chairing the press briefing, deputy secretary general Eisenhower Mkaka said High Court Judge Charles Mkandawire dismissed the case because the complainants did not report to court as agreed last week when the case was adjourned to yesterday.

He said: “Last week, the court adjourned the case to 9am today [yesterday] and we went to court with our lawyer. The judge was available, too, by the scheduled time.

“Surprisingly, the complainants did not come and we waited for over 30 minutes, but they could not show up. As a result, the judge made the pronouncement, dismissing the case because the other side did not come to present their case.”

Mkaka expressed happiness over the ruling, saying it offers relief to the party to prepare for 2019 elections and also proceed with holding district and constituency elections which were restrained by the case.

“We are overjoyed with the dismissal because this case was dragging us backwards in preparations for the 2019 general elections. We had to focus on dealing with this [court] issue. But now, we will be able to proceed with elections at district and constituency levels,” he said.

On May 13 2016, MCP announced plans to embark on district elections after the High Court in Blantyre ruled against the legality of the party’s committees because the members had been on their positions beyond three years, as stipulated in Articles 20 (1) and 24 (2).

However, the elections could not be held due to a court injunction which was tied to the case that has now been dismissed.

MCP director of Elections Maxwell Thyolera said the party will now proceed with holding the elections to ensure fresh district and constituency committees.

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