Malawi: Court Allows MCP to Use Clip of Ansah's Zodiak Interview in Malawi Poll Case

2 December 2019

The five-member panel of High Court judges sitting as the Constitutional Court in the presidential elections case on Monday allowed second petitioner's lead counsel Modecai Msisha to use a video clip of a Zodiak Broadcasting Station (ZBS) interview with Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) chairperson Jane Ansah to cross-examine chief elections officer Sam Alfandika.

MEC lawyer Tamanda Chokhoto opposed to the application by Msisha to use the video clip, saying it would have been an attempt to bring in evidence unprocedurally.

"It would have been necessary if the petitioners would bring in this particular evidence by sworn statements.

"Before the witness would testify they must be informed what they must be faced with at the hearing. We object to the clip being used as the application is not made in compliance with the rules," Chokhotho said.

But Msisha, who is representing Malawi Congress Party (MCP) presidential hopeful Lazarus Chakwera (second respondent), argued that the issues that necessitate the production of the clip arose during the cross examination.

Charles Mhango one of the lawyers for first respondent President Peter Mutharika also objected to the use of the video clip.

Judge Dingiswayo Madise on behalf of the panel of judges ruled that the video clip be used during cross-examination.

"The issue that necessitated the clip was raised by the witness himself during the cross examination so we allow the clip," he said.

The video clip was shown in court where Ansah was being interviewed by Zodiak's Joab Frank Chakhaza in which she said the electoral body did not establish the source of correctional fluid Tippex used in the tally sheets of results.

Msisha asked Alfandika that according to the MEC chairperson's version, no investigation was done on the source of tippex.

But Alfandika insisted that "investigation was done."

He said: "Looking at the clip, the chairperson is making reference to the period during the determination of the results."

However, Msisha told Alfandika that the interview was done after the elections.

During the ZBS interview, Ansah, a judge of the Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal, spoke on the observation by High Court Judge Charles Mkandawire that MEC did not address concerns raised by MCP)at the time it wished to release the results, when she faulted Mkandawire's judgement, suggesting that it was premised on inadequate information. This part was not shown on Monday.

UTM Party president Saulos Chilima and Chakwera are seeking nullification of the presidential election results on the basis that there were irregularities, especially the results management system, that they believed compromised the outcome.

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