By Rebecca Chimjeka:
Malawi Congress Party (MCP) president Lazarus Chakwera Friday insisted in court that results that Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) announced in May 21 Tripartite Elections were contaminated.
He also said Mec responses to complaints the party raised before the announcements of the elections were not satisfactory.
Chakwera, the second petitioner in the presidential elections case being heard by the Constitutional Court in Lilongwe, said this when Attorney General (AG) Kalekeni Kaphale, who is representing Mec, asked him in a cross examination on what he meant by ‘contamination’ based on his sworn affidavits.
The MCP leader cited an example of Mec presiding officer for Mpatsa Tally Centre in Nsanje District, who was allegedly caught with three ballot boxes stuffed with already marked ballots in favour of Democratic Progressive Party presidential candidate President Peter Mutharika and the presiding officer was arrested by Police.
“The second respondent’s chief returning officer for Nsanje Central Constituency, Mr Fred N Thomas, was on 23rd May 2019 found tampering with results sheets and this was still within the period for transmission of results,” Chakwera said.
However, Kaphale kept on asking as to why Chakwera was insisting on the statements, yet none of his monitors complained to the court over the irregularities and that he did not bring to court his polling centre monitors as witnesses.
However, Chakwera informed the court that monitor and expert witnesses will ably respond to the specified questions.
In an interview, Kaphale said their case theory was that every party had monitors and they were at the tarry centres to verify the results.
“These monitors were there to verify accuracy of the results and see if the process is going on well, one would wonder how anybody will just to say this result sheet is nonstandard when the result sheet contains data that has been signed for by monitors and the monitors have been kept away from the court to comment on the validity of the data, monitors did not only witness the counting but also kept records,” Kaphale said.
But lawyer for Chakwera, Modecai Msisha said monitors that might have signed papers at polling station level would not be aware of what was happening at the constituency tally centre.
The case has been adjourned to September 30.
Since Mec declared Mutharika of the elections, tension has been hovering around the country, with some quarters disputing results of the elections.
Mec announced that Mutharika got 1,940,709 votes, representing 38.57 percent of votes cast, while Chakwera got 1,781,740 votes, representing 35.41 percent.
Saulos Chilima of UTM came third after getting 1,018,369 votes, translating into 20.24 percent of votes counted.
MCP and UTM are challenging the presidential election results in court, seeking nullification of the results.
Meanwhile, since June Human Rights Defenders Coalition has been organising nationwide protests demanding the resignation of Mec Chairperson Justice Jane Ansah for allegedly running a fraudulent election.