Court declares Vincent Mwale duly elected

THE Supreme Court has dismissed an election petition by Patriotic Front (PF) losing Chipangali Constituency candidate Lucas Phiri for lack of merit. Supreme Court Judge Mervin Mwanamwambwa in his judgment yesterday dismissed the grounds of appeal and declared MMD’s Vincent Mwale as duly elected MP for Chipangali.

Mr Phiri had appealed against the High Court’s decision that declared Mr Mwale duly elected MP and advanced accusations of electoral malpractice during the 2011 campaign period. “The appeal is dismissed for lack of merit. This court upholds and finds that Honourable Mwale was duly elected and remains the MP for Chipangali Constituency,” Mr Justice Mwanamwambwa said.

Mr Justice Mwanamwambwa said the petitioner had failed to provide evidence on all the six grounds of appeal raised and found that most donations made did not amount to philanthropic activities during his campaigns. On accusations of donations in the Church, the judge said the donations made by Mr Mwale during his campaigns were done following a request made by Church members and demonstrated that it was made out of a request.

“The donation was made out of a request made and during the said donation, the petitioned did not mention or tell the Church members to vote for him during the elections because if he did, then the court would have associated it to vote buying,” he said. Mr Justice Mwanamwambwa also dismissed another accusation of treaty, saying the food bought during campaigns was for their own consumption, as campaign officials, which was prepared by themselves.

On the sponsored football tournament, the judge held that the tournament was held way back before the elections and the price was not given by Mr Mwale, and found the reasons advanced as unfounded. “All the allegations leveled against Mr Mwale were false, the court orders that each party must bear its own costs,” he said. Mr Mwale said after judgment that he was happy with the outcome, especially that it had taken long to be concluded.