Malawi Congress Party (MCP) president Lazarus Chakwera’s fourth witness Anthony Bendulo yesterday claimed that rigging was orchestrated by Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) IT officers to favour first respondent President Peter Mutharika in the disputed presidential results of the May 21 polls.
During re-examination by Chakwera’s lead lawyer Mordecai Msiska in the Constitutional Court in Lilongwe, the witness used Sankhani Polling Centre, in Mchinji District, as an example of the alleged rigging.
He told the five-judge panel of the High Court sitting as a Constitutional Court that after tabulations at the tally centre, MCP candidate Chakwera was given 81 votes, instead of 351 as captured at the polling centre, while UTM candidate Saulos Chilima’s votes were also reduced from 83 to 1.
Bendulo, who worked as an IT analyst for MCP during the May elections, said it was ironical that Mutharika’s 86 votes were not tampered with, as captured from the polling.
He explained to the court: “This was not a mere error, but rigging because the officers of the second respondent (MEC) did not stop at just entering wrong data, but they also adjusted the figures so that they should match with the data they had wrongly entered.”
The witness, who seemed to enjoy his own presentation, claimed that from the total summation of 524 votes cast at the centre, 175 votes were removed and the votes allegedly stolen from Chakwera and Chilima were transferred to null and void votes, which, in reality, should have been only two.
According to Bendulo’s presentation, the MEC system at the tally centre showed 699 as the total number of votes cast and from that figure, 524 were null and void ballot papers, thereby translating to only 175 total valid votes that the seven presidential candidates shared at the centre.
Earlier, Msiska attempted to dispel yesterday’s cross-examination assertions by first respondent President Peter Mutharika’s lead lawyer Frank Mbeta in the case.
On Thursday, the lawyer questioned the credentials of the witness and indicated in the court that Bendulo is not an expert in IT as he lacks professional qualifications.