Malawi: ConCourt Rules Monitors Were Not Needed to Testify in Malawi Poll Case

3 February 2020

The Constitutional Court sitting in Lilongwe has dismissed Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) argument that monitors were supposed to come and testify themselves in court on electoral irregularities and illegalities.

The judges, Healey Potani, Mike Tembo, Dingiswayo Madise, Ivy Kamanga and Dr Redson Kapindu are delevering judgement in which opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) and UTM are asking court to nullify the May 2019 presidential elections.

MEC's key argument in the case as that no monitor testied for the petitioners to challenge the valid but Judge Ivy Kamanga said the monitors were not important in this case.

"There was no reason for monitors to testify where forms 66c and 66a had different results," she said.

The court said the Presidential Parliamentary Elections Act (PPEA) distinguishes between the presence of monitors and presiding officers. For monitors it's voluntary, while the presiding officers is mandatory, therefore, MEC cannot solely rely on monitors for a record of what transpired at a polling station.

In the ruling, the court finds that from the evidence in totality, there are indeed some result sheets that were not signed by presiding officers.

"The signing by the presiding officers is stated in Section 93.10 (b) of the PPEA, where ur says the presiding officer must prepare a brief summary, which he must sign. This is mandatory."

The court finds that failure to sign the presiding officers undermined the integrity of the elections.

On log books, the court said log book is a "very vital tool" and that failure to fill in the log books undermined the integrity if the elections.

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