Malawi: Mutharika Could Still Have Won Malawi Presidential Race, MEC Insists

5 December 2019

Day 58 of the presidential elections case, saw the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) continue building its case during a re-examination of one of the commission's witness, Henzily Munkhondya, who is director of electoral services, that President Peter Mutharika of Democrtaic Progressive Party (DPP) was the legitimate winner of the May 21 2019 presidential elections.

Mutharika: Malawi needs peace Henzily Munkhondya, who is director of electoral services, says Mutharika could still have won the elections

The re-examination was preceded by a brief cross-examination of Munkhondya by President Mutharika's lawyer, Frank Mbeta who focused on recording of results in the tally sheets and the record results book.

Mbeta had 30 minutes but only utilized half of that.

Bit and bit, Munkhondya built a case that even if the votes which the petitioners presented as irregular were given to Malawi Congress Party (MCP) presidential candidate, Dr Lazarus Chakwera he could not have been a winner.

The petitioners had presented a case at Kaviwale school on stream 6 whose votes from the stream were different from the computer generated.

"Without admission of irregularity, even if we get the 582 votes from that stream and give to each of first and second petitioner, they would not have won," he explained

The same was repeated on a case regarding the blank log book.

Munkhondya said there 11,095 streams and without admitting irregularity, if all the 610 votes for the centre with the blank record book were given to Chakwera, Mutharika could still have won.

Chokotho took Munkhondya to read a paragraph from his sworn statement where he said "the elections were held in full compliance of the law and the petitioners had no merit and ought to be dismissed. There were no irregularities that could have affected the outcome of the elections" and asked him to explain it.

Munkhondya firmly explained that conducting elections is a complex undertaking that as much as the MEC strived to attain 100 percent perfection, there might be one or two issue that might not go according to our plans.

"When those ones occur they may not affect the outcome of the election," he said.

Munkhondya explained that the Commission took a rigourous process in dealing with alternations to ascertain that there was no mischief.

"At the constituency tally centre there were auditors and so too at the national tally centre. We scrutinized every vote and having convinced that these results were true reflections of the will of the people, the Commission proceeded to announce the results," he said.

Munkhondya also tackled on the evidence presented in court by MCP lawyers that at some centres the results on from 66 were different from those captured in the record log book for the centre.

He said the tally sheets had signatures of monitors which meant they agreed with them.

"The tally sheets were the ones sent to the main tally centre and not the record log book. Seeing the form signed by the monitors of the petitioner there no no reason to have an inquiry to compare the tally sheet against what was in the log book," he explained.

Munkhondya also debunked a case by the petitioners at one centre where the manual sheet had six streams but the computer generated result showed five streams.

He explained that there are established centres and non-established centres called satellite centres. All prisons are regarded as satellite centres.

"When voting is done, prisoners vote in prisons when it comes to counting we don't count votes for the prison as a stream we add them to a stream at the existing centre. In Ntcheu, stream 6 on manual tally sheet, the details were added to stream five. we don't announce results for such centres as standalone is to maintain secrecy of the ballot and this applies to all districts where there are prisons," he explained.

Chokotho also picked a number of sheets which had alterations and asked Munkhondya to add up the stream results which gave the sum as put after Tippex which proved that the correction fluid was used to correct a mistake.

Meanwhile, one witness for MEC remains to be cross examined with the court being determined to wrap up hearing on Friday December 6, stressing that if push comes to shove the court will sit on Saturday December 7 to conclude the case.

In the case where President Peter Mutharika of Democratic Progressive Party, the declared winner, is the first respondent, Chilima and Malawi Congress Party (MCP) presidential hopeful Lazarus Chakwera are challenging the results of the presidential race citing irregularities, especially in the results management system.

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