Hearing of a petition seeking nullification of presidential elections results in the May 21 Tripartite Elections continued on Thursday with lawyer for President Peter Mutharika pinning second petitioner Lazarus Chakwera’s third witness on alteration of results.
Frank Mbeta, one of the lawyers of Mutharika who is the first respondent, started his cross-examination of Peter Lackson Chimangeni, the witness for Malawi Congress Party (MCP) presidential candidate Chakwera.
Chimangeni is taking questions in the second phase of cross-examination after Attorney General Kalekeni Kaphale, who is representing Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) as the second respondent, probed him for six days.
Mbeta used his open-ended style of questioning the witness who appeared to agree with him on a number of issues bordering on presidential results alterations.
In one of his sworn statements, Chimangeni indicated that the result sheets which were allegedly altered affected about 1.4 million votes out of approximately five million votes.
The witness agreed with Mbeta that in some cases alterations were made to make corrections, but he made a point that other alteration were made to rig results in favour of Mutharika.
He told the court that officials and presiding officers altered results without reference to the log books and that some of the alterations were made at night in the absence of political party monitors.
But Mbeta questioned him on how he arrived at the conclusion that the results were altered when he was not one of the presiding officers at any polling or tally centre, to which Chimangeni responded: “Alterations can be done in good or bad faith.
“Alterations which were done without referring to the log book and alterations which were done at night without the presence of monitors were done in bad faith…”
The witness also maintained that the absence of log books and original result sheets were the reason he did not see it necessary to cross-check information with party monitors.
MEC did not submit to the court some of the original documents such as log books and original result sheets as part of affidavits to be used during the trial as requested by the Constitutional Court during the conference scheduling meetings.
Results announced by MEC indicated that Mutharika won the election with 38.5 percent followed by Chakwera with 35 percent. UTM president Saulos Chilima, who contested in the presidential election while serving as the country’s vice-president, amassed 23 percent of the vote.
Chakwera and Chilima, who is the first petitioner, are seeking nullification of the presidential election results over alleged irregularities.