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Malawi court to rule on ex-president’s bid for third term

Malawi’s Constitutional Court will on Friday rule on the eligibility of ex-president Bakili Muluzi to run for president for a third time in next week’s elections, a court official said on Tuesday.

In March the commission disqualified Muluzi from standing for presidency because he had already hit a two-term limit, after serving from 1994 to 2004.

Muluzi argues that the term limits apply only to consecutive terms, and that he should be allowed to run again in the May 19 race.

The commission said it had taken into consideration the spirit of the law, which was meant to prevent presidents from holding the job for life.

In 1971, Malawi’s first post independence leader, Kamuzu Banda declared himself president for life of the impoverished southern African country and ruled for more than three decades.

Kalekeni Kaphale, one of the lawyers for Muluzi, also said the former leader was ”denied the right to be heard before the commission made a decision on the rejection.”

The case is only one of Muluzi’s legal problems. He also faces graft charges over the alleged theft of $12-million dollars in aid money during his time in office.

The prosecution was launched by his successor President Bingu wa Mutharika, who has initiated a sweeping anti-corruption campaign since coming to power. — Sapa-AFP

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