Malawi: 3rd MCP Witness Testifies 1.4m Votes Were Affected - Concedes Irregularities Were Mere Red Flags

10 October 2019

The third witnesses for Malawi Congress Party (MCP) presidential hopeful Lazarus Chakwera, Peter Lackson Chimangeni a data entry supervisor during the May 21 Tripartite Elections on Wednesday began testifying in court under cross-examination from Attorney General (AG) Kalekeni Kaphale, who is representing MEC in the presidential election petition case.

The witness admitted that he was located at the party's parallel tally centre in Lilongwe and did not have access to polling stations or monitors at that level.

He identified five areas of alleged irregularities being use of duplicate forms to record results, use of non standard forms, and altered forms both using pen as well as correctional fluid Tippex.

Chimangeni, who has told the court that he prefers to be called Peter Lackson, was heavily cross examined on these alleged irregularities by Kaphale.

The witness conceded during cross-examination that what he had identified as irregularities were mere red flags and not confirmation that any candidate valid vote was compromised.

He was asked to explain why, having noted the alleged irregularities he failed to ask questions to his monitors who had signed the electoral forms, as to the validity of the figures on the forms.

Lackson answered that he felt it was not important to ask his monitors to confirm the figures.

He also failed to challenge the validity of any monitors signature on any form, content to contend that he thinks the signatures were forged.

Kaphale asked him: "Are you saying some monitors signatures were forged?"

Lackson said "Yes".

Pressed if he has reported to Malawi Police Service, Lackson said no.

On why he did not report, Lackson told the court: "It was not necessary."

The Attorney General further asked Lackson: "Did you speak to the monitors whose signatures were forged?"

He replied: "No, it was not necessary."

Kaphale who has so far expressed dissatisfaction with the way the witness is answering question, further quizzed Lackson: "Do you know forging is a criminal offence? And this is a Constitutional Court."

Lackson said: "No."

Asked if he confirmed with the monitors that their signatures were forged, Lackson told the court that he did not and it was "not necessary."

Pressed further to explain how he knew the signatures were forged, Lackson said:"I will display them here and the court will decide."

Though he had testified that 1.4 million votes were affected by the identified irregularities, Lackson told the court that in his evidence in chief, he had not explained how the effect came about.

Though he had all the tools to validate the results, Lackson had opted to come to court with mere invalidated suspicions.

He also said the auditors at polling centre were merely doing nothing.

Kaphale asked the MCP witness, "Auditors were paid money to do nothing?"

Lackson said "yes according to my analysis."

The cross examination of Lackson is expected to finish Thursday.

Chakwera, who is second petitioner in the case, is alongside UTM Party president Saulos Chi lima (first petitioner), challenging the re-election of President Peter Mutharika, alleging that the presidential results in May were marred by irregularities and fraud.

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