Malawi: Mutharika Files Court Response to Discredit Evidence of Chilima, Chakwera in Polls Case - 'Petitioners Fail to Prove Alleged Irregularities'

President Peter Mutharika has filed his response and sworn statements in opposition to the consolidated petitions of UTM Party president Saulos Chilima and Lazarus Chakwera of Malawi Congress Party (MCP) at Constitution Court challenging results of the presidential race in the May 21 Tripartite Elections which favoured Mutharika.

Lawyer Frank Farook Mbeta representing the President wants the court to throw out the applications for lacking evidence of irregularities and wasting court time

Chilima and Chakwera filed separate petitions disputing the May 27 Malawi Electoral Commission declaration of Mutharika as winner of the presidential race with 1 940 709 votes representing 38.57 percent followed by Chakwera with 1 781 740 votes representing 35.41 percent with Chilima finishing third and ahead of four other aspirants with 1 018 369 votes representing 20.24 percent.

The petitioners cite irregularities, especially in the results management process, as some of the factors justifying nullification of the presidential election.

The High Court consolidated the petitions into one case and referred the matter to Chief Justice Andrew Nyirenda who subsequently certified it as a constitutional matter and assigned a five-judge panel to hear the case as a Constitutional Court.

The five-judge panel comprises Healey Potani, Mike Tembo, Dingiswayo Madise, Ivy Kamanga and Redson Kapindu.

Through private practice lawyers led by Frank Farouk Mbeta, President Mutharika, a professor at law, is asking the court to dismiss the petitioners' case.

Mutharika has filed sworn statements in support of his case through the worn statements of Dr. Ben Malunga Phiri (Minister of Local Government), Bob Chimkango a private practice lawyer and more than 50 monitors who witnessed the whole process from voting to counting of the votes in the areas alleged by Chilima and Chakwera to have irregularities.

According to court documents seen by Nyasa Times, President Mutharika discredited the evidence of the petitioners as "lacking and wanting in all material respects."

In response, Mutharika through lawyer Mbeta argue that the Chilima and Chakwera have heavily relied on the use of the alteration fluid known as Tippex as a basis to nullify the election.

"The Petitioners have deliberately failed to adduce the source documents ( Forms 60C) which are the stream results in order to contradict the results sheets that were relied upon by MEC (form 60c) when announcing the results," lawyer Mbeta argues for Mutharika.

"The Petitioners have miserably failed to tell the court the effect of the alterations on the votes polled by the candidates.

"The petitioners have also failed to tell the court the fact that alteration fluid used was only for reconciliation of the figures and not to change the votes of the candidates."

According to Mutharika's response, Chilima and Chakwera have failed in their evidence (sworn statements) to prove the alleged irregularities.

Furthermore, Chilima and Chakwera have failed to show how the alleged irregularities if at all they existed, affected the outcome of the results.

President Mutharika has also filed Skeletal Arguments buttressing the arguments as contained in the sworn statements.

Mutharika is asking the Court to dismiss the Petition as it lacks merit and is a waste of courts time and resources.

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