Lawyers representing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) presidential candidate Peter Mutharika on Monday accused Judiciary and the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) of behaving funny in the manner they are handling the electoral disputes.
Mutharika’s high-powered legal team comprising Kalekeni Kaphale, Alex Nampota and Necton Mhura told journalists in Blantyre that there was an invisible hand controlling things and wondered how three political parties could form a post-electoral alliance only after one presidential candidate was leading in unofficial results.
Kaphale said MEC, after President Joyce Banda’s call on Saturday to nullify the poll, made a position that it was going to proceed with the process of tallying results and to make a determination, but only to succumb to pressure on Monday to announce recount of votes.
He also wondered how a judge of the High Court’s Commercial Division, Ken Manda, could handle a matter that was in the general registry and issue an order ex-parte, vacating an injunction issued by his brother judge.
Kaphale, assisted by Nampota and Mhura in taking questions, said the courts or MEC have no powers to extend the eight-day period under which MEC is supposed to announce electoral results because that is statute that can only be amended by Parliament.
Earlier, one of the presidential candidates in the May 20 Tripartite Elections, Friday Jumbe, filed for a contempt of court at the High Court in Blantyre against MEC chairperson Maxon Mbendera and his commissioners.
Jumbe and three other applicants want Mbendera and his seven commissioners jailed for allegedly failing to respect High Court judge Healey Potani’s order that restrained the electoral body from implementing its decision to recount poll votes.
The court granted Jumbe and others leave to start proceedings to commit to prison Mbendera, commissioners Stanley Billiati, Elvey Mtafu, Nancy Tembo, Wellington Nakanga and reverends Emmanuel Chimkwita Phiri, Bernard Malango and Mezuwa Banda.
MEC chief elections officer Willie Kalonga said in an interview that the electoral body had received the order for contempt and they had signed for it.
He said as of yesterday, tallying of votes from across the nation was at 98 percent.