Malawi: Chakwera Has Good Case and Cause - Lawyer

Malawi Congress Party president Lazarus Chakwera.
1 October 2019

One of the lawyers representing Malawi Congress Party (MCP) presidential hopeful Lazarus Chakwera in the historic elections petition case at the Constitutional Court in Lilongwe, Mordecai Msisha has said he was pleased Chakwera has done a good job in his testimony.

Chakwera says correction fluid Tippex was used on results sheets and some results did not match

Msisha said in an interview after Chakwera finished his testimony that, the second petitioner in the case, who is seeking to nullify the May presidential elections and that the court should order a re-run, alleging that President Peter Mutharika won the vote via "irregularities and tippex results" has argued his case well and has good cause to seek justice.

He said Chakwera's case is premised on irregularities illegalities.

The irregularities and illegalities, if taken into account, a re-run is unavoidable, the MCP lawyers say.

Chakwera said in re-examination before he ended his testimony that he decided to petition the court after he was given information by his party representatives that some results that were tallied and were coming to tally centres did not match with what was on the ground.

Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) has insisted there was "no skulduggery" involved in the compilation of the votes in either the presidential or parliamentary elections.

Chairperson of the five-judge panel Healy Potani has given fresh direction, limiting cross-examinations of witnesses to expedite the case.

Chakwera, who came second in the presidential race, claims through one of his key witnesses, Peter Lackson, that he polled 1 955 901 votes against Mutharika's 1 873 689, according to the party's parallel national tally centre.

The witness, whose sworn statement is on Constitutional Court record, says they established a computer-based results management platform, which was designed to collect results throughout the country using software which would upload the results directly into their system in conjunction with phone calls and hand delivered results of Form 66C.

Lackson, who will testify for Chakwera claims the irregularities affected more than 1 520 427 votes cast, which he says is 30 percent of the total vote cast.

"Based on the magnitude of the votes affected by the irregularities, there is material evidence that the determination of presidential elections is neither credible nor done in accordance with the established procedures set out under the Parliamentary and Presidential Elections Act (PPEA)," Lackson claims.

Lackson's sworn statement is among several that Chakwera has filed in the matter.

Chakwera, in his 13-paged election petition on court record, is also asking the court to nullify the results of the May 21 Presidential Election as he claims it was not conducted in accordance with the Constitution.

The MCP presidential hopeful is also asking the Constitutional Court to direct MEC to organise and conduct a fresh Presidential Election in strict conformity with the Constitution and Presidential and Parliamentary Elections Act .

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