High Court dismisses MEC’s application to suspend election

The High Court has dismissed an application by the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) to suspend or vary the fresh presidential election, slated for July 2, 2020 because of COVID-19 pandemic.

The application was made and heard on Thursday, April 9.

MEC asked the Court to stop the ongoing registration exercise for the election.

MEC’s application came after the Cabinet Committee on Coronavirus prescribed the suspension of the exercise as precautionary measures to fight the outbreak.

But in its ruling the Court indicated that “the application (by MEC) was wrongly brought before the Court as the court is the High Court of Malawi and not a subordinate Court as envisaged under the provisions of Section 53 of the Court Act under which the application had purportedly been made.

“MEC should have known, therefore, especially because it is headed by a Supreme Court Judge, that jurisdiction to entertain this application lies with the Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal and not the High Court.”

On February 3, the Constitutional Court nullified the results of last year’s presidential election, citing “widespread, systematic and grave irregularities including significant use of correction fluid to alter the outcome”.

On March 12, 2020 the Supreme Court of Appeal judges also unanimously rejected an appeal by MEC and President Peter Mutharika to suspend the Constitutional Court ruling on the election case.

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