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UTM produces ‘altered’ votes

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The Constitutional Court handling the presidential election case yesterday heard oral submissions from Malawi Congress Party (MCP), UTM, Women Lawyers Association and Malawi Law Society.

Taking his turn, UTM lead counsel Chikosa Silungwe asked the court not to only concentrate on the figures but also quality of the election management system.

In his oral submission to the court, Silungwe maintained that there were a lot of irregularities as well fraud that marred the May 21 2019 tripartite elections.

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“Our case is based on prevalence of irregularity and fraud in the case. You cannot have a valid vote count if the document carrying the data flouts the law and administration regulation set. The valid vote is an accumulation of compliance of vote process,” he said.

Silungwe produced to the court a summary of votes that were altered during the results management which shows percentage of affected votes.

He described the presidential election as illegal, irregular and lacking integrity on basis that Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) failed to use original tally sheets and instead used manually and Tippexed-altered results forms, fake or unconventional log books among others.

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His analysis of the level of irregularities led to the judges to ask more on how they would appreciate the raw evidence to affirm the analysis.

“The statistics that we have provided is based [om] analysis that we did on evidence that was brought by Mec through Hazel Mukhondiya. Under the files, which are result tally sheets on forms 66C. We used a table that we developed in cross-examination. The court has the table that we used,” Silungwe answered.

In his submission, Silungwe said 1, 122 form 66Cs were manually altered affecting 1, 330, 486 valid votes. He also said there were 1, 527 duplicate form 66Cs affecting 1,593,334 votes cast, there were 172 fake form 66Cs affecting 188, 172 votes cast, while there were 442 tippexed form 66Cs affecting 534, 340. He also said 1,182 form 66Cs which affected 1, 120, 120 votes cast were not signed by presiding officers.

Silungwe further said Mec failed to exercise its Constitutional duty as in Section 76, and 77 of election laws and breached Section 40 which talks about the rights of citizens in their political life.

Silungwe also said in the submission that despite Attorney General Kalekeni Kaphale and Mec Chief Elections Officer Sam Alfandika representing Mec, there was need to have Mec commissioners in court.

“I was appealing to the court that Mec failed to bring its witness to court, we are entitled to an adverse inference in terms of the law perhaps they were to say something negative against the commission itself,” he said.

Immediately after Silungwe, lawyer for MCP, Senior Counsel Mordecai Msisha, also commenced his oral submissions where among others he highlighted a number of laws that the court needs to take into account when providing its determination.

Among others, he said the commissioners should have come and show the court the kind of result they approved as they were central in determining the results.

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