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Objections dominate day 7 of elections case

Objections and counter-objections Monday dominated day seven of hearing of the elections case underway at the Constitutional Court in Lilongwe.

The frequent stoppages, especially in the afternoon, resulted into little progress recorded in the case when the court rose at 5 o’clock in the evening.

Chairperson of the panel of judges hearing the case, Healey Potani, admitted that progress recorded on the day was unimpressive.

“Today, I must admit that we haven’t recorded satisfactory progress,” Potani said.

He urged lawyers representing parties in the case to demonstrate acumen in the way they make their submissions to avoid further time wastage.

When the court resumed sitting, Frank Mbeta, who is lawyer representing the first respondent in the case President Peter Mutharika, continued cross-examining first petitioner, UTM President Saulos Chilima, on what is contained in Chilima’s affidavit.

Among others, Mbeta quizzed the UTM leader on allegations that the number of ballots cast in Mzimba South West Constituency was greater than the number of registered voters.

Mbeta also played audio clips which depicted Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) Chairperson Jane Ansah answering questions from reporters at the main tally centre in Blantyre in which there was an indication that two people were given premarked papers by election officials in Mzimba.

The court also listened to an audio clip in which Mutharika claimed that his votes were stolen in the Central Region.

Objections started when Mbeta handed over the floor to Charles Mhango, who is also representing Mutharika in the case, to continue cross-examining Chilima.

The bone of contention was the use of documents in the cross-examination which were not served to the other parties involved in the matter.

The matters attracted objections and counter-objections for the better part of the afternoon until the court intervened.

Thereafter, Mhango continued cross-examining Chilima, especially on the results of Rumphi West elections.

The court is expected to resume sitting this morning when Mhango will continue cross-examining Chilima on Rumphi West and Machinga South East results.

“I am very satisfied with the manner in which I have started. I know there were so many technical issues that were raised by the petitioner but I insisted that we need to present the complete picture of evidence before the court,” Mhango said.

He urged Malawians to be patient, saying what was crucial in the case is for justice to prevail.

Chilima and Malawi Congress Party President Lazarus Chakwera want the results of the May 21 elections nullified on allegations that they were riddled by irregularities.

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