Malawi: Chakwera Says Rerun Bid Not Motivated By 'Last-Chance Saloon' On Malawi Presidency

19 September 2019

The opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) presidential hopeful Lazarus Chakwera, the second petitioner in the on-going presidential elections case took to witness stand to be cross examined by lawyers for the respondents and started by acknowledging that the 2019 election was his last chance as a presidential candidate for the MCP, according to the party constitution.

Chakwera (L) and Saulos Chilima at court, the two claim that the elections were marred with irregularities

Chakwera, who wants nullification of the May 21 2019 presidential election and an order for a rerun, was being cross-examined by Attorney General Kalekeni Kaphale representing the second respondents the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC).

He added that though being a last chance saloon to be on the presidential ballot paper under the banner of MCP would be a motive for others to contest the loss no matter what; he was not motivated by this fact.

Chakwera promised to tell the truth and to be honest and logical in his presentation, noting that there were voters rights at stake in the litigation and that the electorate voted for different political parties so much so that their vote should not be nullified except for valid reasons and on sound evidence.

The MCP president was asked by Kaphale about the results verification mechanism in the elections and he acknowledged that monitors at each and every polling station would have witnessed the voting, vote counting, tallying and recording and would also have signed the tally sheets. They were also given stream results sheets and polling station tally sheets.

He further acknowledged that his party had over 20 000 monitors and that there covered each and every polling station.

Chakwera admitted that these would have primary first hand evidence of any discrepancy in the results sheets down to stream level.

The MCP leader was then taken to task over his complaint relating to the use of duplicates in the reckoning of the national result. He admitted that even data on an original form can be discrepant and that it is the validity of the recorded data that would affect an election result. The mere fact that data is on a duplicate form would not.

He admitted that the duplicate forms were MEC forms and that these were signed by monitors and no MCP monitor has come to court to challenge his signature on a duplicate form or to challenge the vote count on any form.

On tippexed and altered forms, Chakwera also admitted that the mere fact of an alteration is a sterile fact that does not indicate whether the election was affected unless it was also shown that the alteration was falsifying a figure on valid votes.

He observed that none of his polling station monitors had been summoned to court to challenge any valid vote figure on an altered or tippexed form.

The same went for forms that he deemed to be fakes.

Chakwera admitted that it is the validity of the data on the form that would be material in the trial and not the fact that the form was non standard.

He admitted that none of his polling station monitors had been summoned to court to show that any valid vote figure on any such forms were wrong or incorrect.

However, he said his witnesses who have sworn statements "will demonstrate" the irregularities.

One of the complaints in the MCP petition had been that the candidate valid votes were not matching with the total valid votes cast. When asked Chakwera admitted that this could be an aggregation error and also that the data on total valid votes cast was not used to determine the election results.

Cross examination of Chakwera will continue Friday.

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