Supreme Court Declares Nkhata Bay Central Seat Vacant
The Supreme Court of Appeal in Blantyre has nullified the results of a Nkhata Bay Central Constituency elections in which Raphael Mhone of People's Party challenged the victory of Symon Vuwa Kaunda of Democratic Progressive Party DPP winner, as declared by the Malawi Electoral Commission MEC.
The determination was made by a panel of seven judges of the Supreme Court but delivered Wednesday morning by Judge Rezine Mzikamanda.
The judgement by the country’s supreme court of appeal has thus quashed a decision by the lower court which upheld the MEC declaration after hearing the case at Mzuzu High Court.
People’s Party candidate in the race Raphael Mhone, had challenged an announcement by the MEC, which declared his opponent Symon Vuwa Kaunda of DPP, victorious.
The two were separated by only 8 votes. Kaunda amassed 6,415 votes against Mhone's 6,407.
Mhone protested results from Chisu polling center and the ballot box from Danke polling center which his observers observed was not secured with padlocks and plastic seals.
In a very brief judgment, the panel of Judges chaired by Justice Rezeen Mzikamanda read "we considered the totality of the evidence brought before it this case, we are unable to affirm the conclusions by the court below on the facts. It is our judgment that this appeal succeeds."
Mzikamanda then declared "There shall be a fresh election in accordance with section 100 (4) of the Presidential and Parliamentary Elections Act".
The higher court also found that some decisions made by the judge in the lower court were “most irregular and dangerous".
Mhone’s lawyer Felix Tandwe said he was delighted on behalf of his client who sought nullification of the results.
Vuwa Kaunda and his lawyers declined to react to the judgment.
On the matter of costs, the supreme court of appeal has since ordered that each party bears its own costs in both applications.
The court will also advise the period from which a fresh election be held.