Malawi Congress Party shadow Members of Parliament (MP) Kafandikhale Mandevana in Nsanje Central, Enoch Chizuzu in Nsanje North and Foster Thipiwa in Chikwawa East have withdrawn their application to cross-examine legislators Francis Kasaila, Esther Mcheka Chilenje and Sam Khumbanyiwa in the ongoing elections case at the High Court.
Mandevana, Chizuzu and Thipiwa are challenging the May 21 2019 parliamentary election results in their constituencies, saying they were marred by irregularities.
Through their lawyer Wester Kosamu, the petitioners say they feel that cross-examining Kasaila, Mcheka Chilenje and Khumbanyiwa will not be necessary as they have shown the court what they intended to do.
“According to our line of questioning, we wanted to start with cross- examining them and then Mec [Malawi Electoral Commission]’s witnesses, but the court directed that we start with Mec’s witnesses. Now, after we have cross-examined Mr. Henzly Munkhondia, we feel that these three are no longer relevant and will not add any value to our case,” he said.
Munkhondia, who is Mec Director of Elections, was the commission’s last witness to be cross-examined on Monday.
Initially, the petitioners asked the court to allow them to cross-examine all the three parliamentarians since they are the ones who Mec declared as winners of the election.
The case has since been adjourned to May 6 2020 when lawyers for the respondents will re-examine Munkhodia.
Kosamu said the petitioners are satisfied with the progress of the case.
“It has been a long journey but we are happy we have come to this stage. After the lawyers for the respondents re-examine Mr. Munkhondia, then the court will give us direction on submissions,” he said.
In a similar case, High Court Judge Sylvester Kalembera nullified election results for Mangochi West Constituency, saying they were not conducted in accordance with the law.
On February 3, the High Court sitting as a Constitutional Court also nullified the May 21 2019 presidential election results.