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Bakili Muluzi vows to fight axing as Malawi candidate

Malawi’s former president Bakili Muluzi vowed on Saturday to fight the election commission’s decision to bar him from running for president in
May elections.

The Malawi Electoral Commission disqualified Muluzi from running in the May 19 election because he has already hit a two-term limit after serving from 1994 to 2004.

He tried and failed to amend the Constitution to allow him to serve a third consecutive term, but had filed his candidacy in hopes of returning to power this year.

The Constitutional Court last year declined to rule on his candidacy, saying the decision rested with the elections commission.

Muluzi, who remains the influential chief of the former ruling United Democratic Front (UDF), reacted angrily to the commission’s announcement, saying the ”decision is politically influenced”.

”My party will challenge the decision in court and I have instructed my legal team to go ahead to challenge the decision,” Muluzi said in a statement.

He urged his supporters, known for political violence, to ”remain calm”, saying he would press ahead with his campaign.

Humphrey Mvula, a top Muluzi aide, said the UDF will file the documents to challenge the decision on Monday at the high court here.

”We think it’s a winnable case … We will survive and exhaust all available means,” he said. ”A big party like the UDF cannot go to the polls without fielding a presidential candidate.”

He accused the commission of going beyond its mandate to interpret the Constitution, saying the electoral body was ”under serious political strain to reject Muluzi”.

Muluzi’s political standing has also been hit by corruption allegations, after he was charged in February with 86 counts of graft over the alleged theft of $12-million in aid money.

His rejection leaves incumbent President Binbgu wa Mutharika facing off against opposition leader John Tembo of the Malawi Congress Party in the presidential race. – AFP



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