Malawi: Skc Lawyers Object to AG's Line of Questioning - Kaphale Says Chilima 'Overly Protected' in Witness Box At Malawi Polls Case

Malawi flag.
9 August 2019

Lawyers for the country's immediate past vice-president Saulos Chilima, the first petitioner in the historic presidential elections nullification petition case, have objected to the line of questioning by Attorney General (AG) Kalekeni Kaphale, saying he was asking UTM Party president in witness boss on matters of laws.

Kaphale continues cross-examination of presidential candidate Saulos Chilima.

Kaphale, in his capacity as government's chief legal adviser, is representing Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) - the second petitioner - said he was taking " a light manner "on the irregularities Chilima has cited in his petition.

"Your petition lack a monitor challenging results at any polling station confirms that you have no issue on the polling other than other issues," Kaphale asked Chilima, adding "You are challenging other matters not the figures."

But laywer Bright Theu rose to object to proceedings , arguing that Kaphale was asking Chilima to make inference instead of stating facts.

Another lawyer Marshal Chilenga also objected that Kaphale was asking Chilima on matters of the law which he said should be dealt by lawyers in the matter.

But Kaphale said Chilima's legal team was "overly protecting their witnesss."

He told the court: "If somebody comes to court and files their claim on statutory provision, that is the susbtance of their case.

"Would I be wrong to merely ask them to read their documents whether they have mentioned any statutory provisions.

"We [MEC] have denied their irregulaities, we have to show through cross -xamination that there was n statutory provision cited."

But Chikosa Silungwe said the five-judge panel unanimously had sustained the objection by Chilima's legal team.

"We can get all the emotion as we can but the objections have been sustained and we can move on," Silungwe said in response to Kaphale's statement.

In his cross-examination, Kaphale made Chilima admit that the much touted Tippex - the correctional fluid - didnot affect the results of the presidential election.

Chilima also agreed that he has no complaint against the figures of votes cast on May 21.

The Attorney General had put to Chilima that a successful challenge of the national results, would ride upon the successful challenge of several streams and the UTM leader said " that's correct."

He asked: "You are focussing on other formal irregularities that are in your petition and affidavits in support of it. Even with that, would you agree with me that any cited irregularity should have affected the results of the Elections at that stream?£"

Chilima responded: "That's true."

Kaphale asked for an early adjournment about 15 minuted before lunch break, saying he second phase of his cross examination will likely start with a question which was likely to be objected again.

Lawyers for petitioners agreed to the proposition and the court adjourned.

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