Malawi: Mutharika's Lawyer Takes On Witness Over 'Ghost Name' - Lackson Says Tippex Covered Rigging

18 October 2019

Lawyer representing President Peter Mutharika in the Constitutional Court hearing a petition seeking nullification of presidential election results, Frank Mbeta on Thursday tussled Peter Lackson, witness for the second petitioner and Malawi Congress Party (MCP) president Lazarus Chakwera, on personal information which he accused him of using a ghost name.

President Mutharika lawyers led by Frank Mbeta (c), at the court - a Photo by Lisa Kadango, Mana

Mbeta wondered why the witness was using "Peter Lackson" and omitting his last name Chimangeni.

But the witness said the names being used in court are his first and middle names and that they also appear on his personal identity cards.

Judge Mike Tembo said the names are those of the witness and he had already told the court before testifying that for security reasons, he would be using his first and middle names.

Mbeta also pressed the witness to disclose where he works.

But Lackson said he works as university lecturer and is doing research consultancies but refused to disclose his place of work for security reasons.

Judge Tembo repeatedly told Mbeta to focus on questions on the case.

During cross examination, MCP's witness told the court that alterations that were made using correctional fluid Tippex on some presidential results sheets were done to cover rigging in favour of President Peter Mutharika who was declared winner by Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) the second respondent in the case.

Lackson said the alterations were done at the constituency tally centre, saying alterations have to be signed for to avoid creating doubts.

"I had a copy from the monitors which I witnessed. I was comparing data from the primary source against the data which has been altered and see if they are the same or not, of if the alterations were genuine, they were supposed to be the same," said Lackson.

"Alterations can be done in good or bad faith. Alterations which were done without referring to log book and alterations which were done at night ithout the presence of monitors were done in bad faith," said Lackson.

But Mbeta argued with the witness, saying he was not an eye-witness to any of the processes on the ground.

In one of his sworn statements, Lackson indicated the result sheets which were allegedly altered affected about 1.4 million votes out of approximately five million votes.

Chakwera and first petitioner Saulos Chilima of UTM Party are seeking nullification of the presidential election results over alleged irregularities.

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