By Jameson Chauluka:
The High Court in Blantyre has set next Monday to deliver its ruling on whether Ras David Chikomeni Chirwa should be given a mandatory injunction to allow Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) give him more time to secure remaining signatories for his presidential bid and whether the commission should revise nomination fees for presidential aspirants down from K2 million.
Mec rejected Chikomeni’s nomination forms because he did not get the required 10 nominators from every district and pay nomination fees.
Chikomeni’s lead lawyer, Chikondi Chijozi, said the nomination fee is too high and discriminates against poor Malawians.
Chijozi also asked the court to grant Chikomeni the mandatory order for Mec to extend time for him to get the remaining nominators, saying it was not easy for an independent candidate to get all the nomination forms from across the country.
“We are saying it does not make sense, for example, that the nomination fees are pegged at K2 million in a country where the law puts minimum wage at K25,000. This means that only rich people can run for the presidency and poor people’s rights to compete for the office are being violated although the Constitution [of the Republic of Malawi] says everyone has a right to vie for any political office.
“Again, Ras Chikomeni is an independent candidate and you cannot expect him to get the signatories from all districts in the country within the same period as political parties,” she said.
Chikomeni also wants the court, at a letter stage, to determine that it is not necessary for Mec to demand aspirants to seek nominators in all districts, saying one can become president even after being voted by few districts.
Attorney General Kalekeni Kaphale, who is representing Mec in the matter, asked the court to dismiss Chikomeni’s application, saying he delayed in dragging Mec to court after sensing that his candidature might face some legal challenges.
Judge Jack Nriva, who is presiding over the case, said he would deliver his ruling on Monday.
He has also referred to the constitutional court questions on the necessity of presidential aspirants getting nominators in all the districts.