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Attorney General, Daud Suleman tussle in court

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COMMON GOAL?—Chakwera (left) and Chilima share some moments at the court

It was a battle between IT and law at the Constitutional Court in Lilongwe Monday afternoon as Attorney General, Kalekeni Kaphale, tussled with Malawi Congress Party (MCP) witness Daud Suleman in the ongoing elections case.

While Kaphale insisted that party monitors, including those from MCP, validated the results of the elections, Suleman insisted that the problem was with how the results were electronically managed to the national tally centre in Blantyre.

Suleman described the Mec electronic results management system as a black box through which party representatives could not see inside.

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According to Suleman, it was hard for party representatives to ascertain the figures that Mec IT officials were punching into the system.

Suleman was answering Kaphale’s question that votes were very crucial in the elections as they were used to determine the overall winner, therefore, the need for party representatives to pay close attention to the votes.

“No political party agent had eyes to see in the Result Management System during the time it was in operation, therefore, if they didn’t see, they could not have an opportunity to have a keen eye into the database,” Suleman said.

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During cross-examination, Kaphale attempted to punch holes into Suleman’s competence as an IT specialist, saying his sworn statement does not indicate that he either has a Bachelor’s Degree in IT or a Master’s degree in the IT field.

Kaphale also questioned Suleman’s claims that Mec IT system was not secure, arguing that Suleman did not bring to the court any evidence to prove any attempt to hack the Mec system.

But Suleman said he had some evidence on this and that if he were allowed to go onto the computer, he would demonstrate this.

“Ghost user approved tally sheets, all those stations are linked to this hack,” Suleman said.

On Suleman’s claims of a ghost user or operator who was approving results, Kaphale asked whether Suleman had brought any evidence to court that the ghost user manipulated the outcome of the vote.

The AG also asked Suleman as to why he did not bring to court results of the MCP tally centre to see if they were different from what Mec got.

Hearing of the case has since been adjourned to this morning when Kaphale is expected to continue cross-examining Suleman.

In an interview, Kaphale, and MCP lawyer Modecai Msisha said they were happy with how the cross-examination went.

Mec has since asked the court to allow its IT Director, Muhabi Chisi to traverse the evidence given by Suleman through a simulation. The court is expected to give directions on the request this morning.

MCP President, Lazarus Chakwera, and UTM president, Saulos Chilima, are challenging the results of the May 21 elections in which the Malawi Electoral Commission announced Democratic Progressive Party candidate, Peter Mutharika, as winner.

Chakwera and Chilima are asking the court to declare the results of the elections, null and void.

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