Malawi: Chilima Confirms Never Used 'Fraud' in Petition - Lawyers Raise Objections Against Ag

14 August 2019

As the Constitutional Court (ConCourt) reconvened on Wednesday morning in the historic elections case in Lilongwe , lawyers for first petitioner UTM Party president Saulos Chilima, confirmed he never used the word "fraud" in his petition.

Kaphale: Asked Chilima to withdraw the word fraud

During cross-examination Attorney General Kalekeni Kaphale , representing Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC), second respondent in the case, said Chilima as first witness has been referring to the May 21 Elections as being fraud.

However, Kaphale asked Chilima, who is the immediate past vice-president, to mention where in his two statements mentioned the word "fraud", question which he answered that there in nowhere in the statement where the word is indicated.

Kaphale's suggestion to have the word withdrawn brought objection plea from Chilima's lead lawyer Dr Chikosa Silungwe who said the issue was not to do with the petitioner to withdraw but for the lawyers to prove before the court if the elections were fraudulent or not.

Silungwe said the word can not be used in its own but for the entire process which they will have to prove before the court

Making a ruling before the judges panel, Justice Dingwiswayo Madise sustained the objection.

On Tuesday Kaphale was also not amused with the objections from Chilima's legal team, saying they were becoming too much and affecting the speed of the trial.

He had asked asking Chilima to confirm if fraud took place through the use of correction fluid, Tippex, which lawyer Bright Theu argued fraud is a legal term which should be dealt with by them as Chilima lawyers.

"Can counsel Theu perhaps tell me how to ask questions? Or has the witness withdrawn his fraud allegation, maybe counsel Theu should guide," said Kaphale.

Chilima also admitted that no monitor for his UTM Party has submitted a sworn statement to the court challenging the results, further stating that if the monitors had alternative results, he would have brought the same to court.

The UTM president told the ConCourt that the results sheets were "fake" saying on top of the original result sheet, where there is a bar code, there is supposed to be five digits, which bear district name, constituency name and code and polling station code, and with names of candidates already printed.

Chilima said, this result sheet had a number with letters and digits, and the name of polling station and presidential candidates written in ink.

But Kaphale asked Chilima why both Malawi Congress Party (MCP), second petitioner in the matter, and UTM Party monitors, signed for this result sheet when they had instructions from their parties to sign for correct results only.

The AG further asked if he asked his monitors about the signing of this "fake" result sheet, but Chilima said he could not have started discussing a fake document.

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