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Court moves with second witness

The Constitutional Court, hearing the electoral case, has paraded a second witness Mirriam Gwalidi, a UTM roving monitor whose sworn statements formed the major part of cross-examination of first petitioner, UTM president Saulos Chilima.

Before Attorney General Kalekeni Kaphale took to the cross-examination floor, Gwalidi asked for amendments of her sworn statements before they were tendered as part of her evidence in the case.

Gwalidi was also part of the UTM monitoring team at the National Tally Centre in Blantyre.

Chilima’s lawyer, Bright Theu, also reminded the court of its determination to control the cross-examination process of other witnesses apart from the main witnesses.

Kaphale took Gwalidi through roles of monitors and the impact of use of correction fluid Tipp-Ex on valid votes.

He questioned whether their concerns touched on the valid votes.

“Would you confirm that your concern was not about valid votes and you have just thrown on our laps a bunch of forms that were just altered using Tipp-Ex,” he asked

Gwalidi confirmed their concern as cited in their sworn statement without explicitly touching on the valid votes.

On a number of occasions, the panel of the judges kept guiding Kaphale not repeat questions posed to the former witness, a development that attracted concern from one of Chilima’s lawyers, Chikosa Silungwe.

Earlier, Silungwe tussled with objections that emerged from questions during the re-examination process, a development that forced him to rephrase some of his questions.

Kaphale and other lawyers objected to the use of a table that was given to Chilima as an aided tool to some of the statistical questions regarding 5,002 centres as a sample of calculations on the number of centres that could affect the tally results.

The court, through chairperson of the panel of the judges Healey Potani, intervened on the matter.

“After meeting the lead counsels for all the parties as part of case management, all parties agreed that the counsel Silungwe should rethink their position and advise the court a way forward that can be accepted by all parties,” he said.

Silungwe withdrew the questions but said he would find another way of presenting the question to forthcoming witnesses.

During the re-examination, Chilima confirmed the presence of two different constituencies, Rumphi West and Mzuzu City, where figures of presidential results were the same.

The forms, headed Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) Presidential Election Results, also carried a signature of one Returning Officer, which Chilima said was a cause for concern.

Chilima said it was unprocedural for returning officers to use duplicates instead of original sheets as indicated by Mec chairperson in one of her responses to complaints that Darlington Ndasauka lodged to the commission prior to the announcement of the results.

Chilima also told the court that there were some forms he deemed fake for carrying fake features such as barcodes, and that most of them were written in ink.

He further confirmed to the court that presiding officers did not sign for some documents despite that being the procedure in the last election period.

Silungwe finished re-examining Chilima while confirming sworn statements available before the court as his evidence.

Chilima cited the sworn statements regarding intimidation, fake sheets and persons arrested for electoral officers.

He also cited results tally sheets that were manually altered, results tally sheets that were altered using correction fluid and sworn statements relating to bribery.

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