Malawi Congress Party (MCP) parliamentary candidate for Mangochi Monkey-Bay Constituency in the May 21 2019 Tripartite Elections, Gerald Kazembe, on Thursday testified in the case where he is challenging the results.
He was joined by two of his monitors, Beston Saizi and Ernest Chipatala, who also testified in the first hearing of the case in High Court judge Jack N’riva’s chamber.
Kazembe is challenging the results after Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) declared incumbent member of Parliament (MP) Ralph Jooma (Democratic Progressive Party-DPP) winner with 9 341 votes against his 9 052 votes. He alleges several irregularities in the results.
In his testimony, Kazembe told the court that MEC, the first respondent in the case, committed fraud by exaggerating figures after polling was closed, adding that there were fake result sheets that were used instead of the originals.
During a brief cross-examination by his lawyer Justin Dzonzi, Kazembe also told the court that his monitors, who where two at each polling stream including the district tally centre, faced a hostile environment from his opponents monitors.
In the cross-examination, Kazembe also told the court that his roving monitors briefed him about the developments as per electoral rules, he was not supposed to be anywhere close to a polling station.
On their part, Saizi and Chipatala, who were the second and third witnesses respectively, also told the court that they were missing original result sheets, a development that led them to report the matter to police.
In their separate cross-examination by one of the lawyers representing Jooma, who is the second respondent, Joseph Kamkwasi said the two alleged that there was also stuffing of ballot boxes by pre-marked ballot papers.
After hearing testimonies from the two, N’riva adjourned the case to December 16 2020 when more witnesses would be paraded by the petitioner before concluding their case.
In an interview after the hearing, Dzonzi said they have laid a foundation for the case having paraded the first three witnesses.
He said: “So, today we brought these three witnesses who are foundation witnesses that were supposed to inform the court in terms of what the case is all about.
“What we have done is that we have laid a foundation for the case and from now onwards, we will be bringing more and more documents to support the petition that was brought before the court.”
Dzonzi added that they will be parading between up to six witnesses in the next scheduled hearing before they conclude the case on their side.
When approached, Kamkwasi declined to comment, saying they would only speak to the press after judgement is delivered.
Initially, the petition was filed at the Zomba High Court registry in Judge Redson Kapindu’s chamber. However, he joined the presidential election petition nullification case and the case was handed over to High Court Judge Maclean Kamwambe.
But before hearing of the case commenced, Kamwambe retired; hence, the case was handed over to N’riva. However, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, hearing of the case stalled.