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Drama continues in elections case

CHALLENGING ELECTION RESULTS—Chakwera

Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) lawyer in the election case, Attorney General Kalekeni Kaphale Thursday tussled with third witness for Malawi Congress Party (MCP) Peter Lackson over the claim that Lazarus Chakwera, the second petitioner, won the presidential poll with 82,000 votes.

In the supplementary sworn statement, Lackson said Chakwera earned 1.9 million votes against President Peter Mutharika’s 1.7 million votes as tabulated at the party’s parallel tally centres.

But Kaphale questioned the development, referring the witness to findings which indicate that 1.4 million votes were affected when Mec accepted results from duplicate forms.

“If we say 1.4 million ballots were affected, you are saying the elections were so irregular. But in the same breath, you are choosing a winner by 82,000 votes, is that what is happening,” he asked

But Lackson said the disparity figures have been presented before the court to demonstrate the irregularities found in the elections.

“Looking at the final result Mec had released, issues of irregularities emerged. The tables included were to show the differences and then we started enquiring further to see what went wrong,” he said.

Kaphale insisted to know the consequences of such irregularities, whether the court should not take into the claimed votes as they were part of the bad votes.

“When you throw away the 1.4 million ballot papers you also throwing the votes, are you not? Kaphale asked

“Yes,” Lackson confirmed

But Lackson also insisted that the court should regard the table of election votes exhibited as a base of investigation for irregularities.

The MCP’s third witness, who was given a platform to explain much of the queries, earlier said Mec’s use of counterfeit forms affected 84,000 ballot papers.

Mutharika got 1,940,709 votes or 38.57 percent, Chakwera finished on second position with 1,781,740 votes, representing 35.41 percent and Saulos Chilima, in third place with 1,018,369 votes or 20.24 percent.

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