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Elections were sham, MCP claims

PART OF MCP LEGAL TEAM—Senior Counsel Mordecai Msisha (left) and Titus Mvalo—File photo

Malawi Congress Party (MCP), which is second petitioner in the ongoing presidential election case, has described the May 21 elections as a sham.

In its reply to final submissions by Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec), MCP argues that the massive irregularities in the elections significantly affected the results of the vote such that the will of the people was subverted.

“[MCP] also submits that since the elections did not comply with the Parliamentary and Presidential Elections Act, there were no valid elections at all. In other words, there were sham elections.

“The second petitioner, therefore, prays before this court for an order nullifying the said Presidential Elections results and order fresh elections in accordance with section 100 of the Parliamentary and Presidential Elections Act (PPEA),” the response reads.

Among other issues, MCP argues that Mec erred by altering, varying and transmitting submitted results in clear disregard of the altered figures recorded on the results tally sheets.

The party also faults Mec for failing to detect alterations and variations in terms of the votes recorded in the system and the corresponding results tally sheets, or not minding the same.

MCP further queries Mec for disregarding or transferring of missing votes into null and void without any verification whatsoever as to which presidential candidate the votes belonged to.

It also questions Mec’s conduct to delay transmitting results from particular areas in Salima, Dowa, Mchinji and Lilongwe and uploading the same after alterations.

The party also faults the electoral body for announcing the final Presidential Election results before results from some polling centres particularly from the Central Region had been uploaded into two respondent’s system.

“The single most important thing which the second petitioner’s evidence has unequivocally proved to this court is the second respondent rigged the presidential elections in favour of the first respondent. The evidence of Mr. Peter Lackson Chimangeni, Mr. Anthony Bendulo and Mr. Daud Suleman establish that the May 21 2019 elections were directly rigged at four different levels, namely, the Stream Level, the Polling Station Level, the Constituency Tally Centre Level and the National Tally Centre Level.

“The first type of rigging was that Assistant Presiding officers of some streams either deducted votes (missing votes) from certain candidates while they added votes to other candidates (extra votes). We draw the court’s attention to Exhibits PL25C and 25A for the fact that what has been categorised as missing or extra votes therein arose from the fact the Assistant Presiding Officers tampered with candidates’ scores at the stream level.

“This is the reason why when presented at the constituency tally centre, tally sheets from presiding officers were failing to balance. It was this type of rigging which triggered massive alterations seen in the 2,851 tally sheets contained in Exhibit HM2,” MCP says.

The party argues that it has presented enough evidence to prove its case, adding that the evidence before the court shows that there were unprecedented contravention of Sections 76, 77 and 40 of the Constitution as well as the PPEA.

“It is the second petitioner’s submission that the respondents have failed to contradict the evidence of the petitioners and has attempted to benefit from and rely on consequences of the second respondent’s contravention of the law to advance their cases,” MCP says.

In their final written submissions, Mec and Democratic Progressive Party President, Peter Mutharika, argue that UTM Party president Saulos Chilima and MCP leader Lazarus Chakwera failed to substantiate the claims outlined in their petitions.

The respondents argue that the evidence tendered by Chilima and Chakwera was based on either hearsay or opinions of witnesses.

The court is expected to hear oral submissions tomorrow and Friday.

The court is expected to deliver its judgement of the case after 45 days from December 21.

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