Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) declared Jooma winner of the parliamentary election with 9 341 votes against Kazembe’s 9 052 votes.
However, a dissatisfied Kazembe filed a petition and claimed that Jooma was not duly elected.
In his affidavit, Kazembe claimed that while results sheets were altered using correction fluid known as Tipp-Ex, some of his monitors were refused carbonated and that they did not sign tally sheets in some centres.
He also alleged that MEC deliberately put few ballot papers in areas where he had a high following; hence, created voter apathy which also ruined his chances of winning.
But delivering his three-hour oral judgement at the High Court in Blantyre, N’riva said Kazembe failed to show, through his witness testimonies, that the irregularities he alleged could have affected the outcome of the election.
The judge also said the petitioner failed to prove that changes of figures that were made on some of the results sheets were intended for any sinister moves.
Besides, N’riva further pointed out that through the witness testimonies, Kazembe failed to explicitly provide evidence that could support rigging and ballot stuffing claims he made.
In an interview after the ruling, lawyer representing Kazembe, Justin Dzonzi said he will consult his client on the way forward.
He said: “That is the outcome of the ruling and we accept it but, on the way, forward I cannot say for now.”
On his part, Jooma was visibly jubilant, saying: “The court has ruled and that is it. So, if he [Kazembe] wants to appeal at the Malawi Supreme Court let him do so, but the law has taken its course.”
Outside the courtroom, DPP sympathisers joined Jooma’s family in celebrating the victory. Present at the court were also DPP legislators Mark Botomani (Zomba Chisi) and Sameer Suleman (Blantyre City South East).
In the aftermath of the May 21 2019 Tripartite Elections, MEC faced 44 parliamentary election petitions. Out of these, seven petitions were successful while the High Court upheld the results in Nkhata Bay Central Constituency, but the Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal reversed the ruling and ordered a fresh election. The other petitions were dismissed.