Just as the Constitutional Court has ruled that Malawians should in the next 150 days go back to the polls to elect their leader after it overturned last year’s ‘Tipp-Ex election’, governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) director of elections, Ben Phiri has said greed by the party’s officials cost them the presidential elections.
Phiri, who is also Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, said this on Tuesday in Mangochi a day after the five-judge panel of the High Court of Malawi comprising Healey Potani, Redson Kapindu, Ivy Kamanga, Mike Tembo and Dingiswayo Madise, annulled last year’s elections and called for a new ballot within 150 days.
He was elevating three Traditional Authorities to senior chiefs.
Phiri noted that some party officials were greed with power, apparently also hinting on the picking of Everton Chimulirenji to be President Peter Mutharika’s running mate.
He said the DPP failed to get a landslide victory for presidential elections in May because greed prevented the Eastern and Southern regions to form a formidable force during the May 21 Elections.
In the ‘Tipp-Ex election’, Mutharika polled 38% of the vote, followed by Malawi Congress Party (MCP) leader Lazarus Chakwera with 35% and UTM Party president Saulos Chilima in third with 20%. The four other candidates collectively got nearly 6% of the vote.
Phiri said the DPP is aware that some of its supporters are disappointed with the nullification of the Presidential elections results by the Constitutional Court but said they will canvass votes to win back the presidency.
“DPP will campaign vigorously to win the presidential elections, do not despair,” said Phiri.
Phiri was a key witness to Mutharika, who was first respondent in the presidential election case, and in his testimony he admitted electoral flaws in May 21 2019 elections that included officers filling in inappropriate boxes of the tally sheets because of failure to understand some terminologies.
He also admitted use of Tippex, duplicate forms and alterations of results on tally sheets by some polling staff.
During his testimony, he was also made to read out his sworn affidavit, which stated that auditors which the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) hired to scrutinise and certify the electoral process, rejected many of the tally sheets because of missing signatures of some political parties.
In their abridged version of its 500-paged landmark judgement read between 9am and about 7.50pm, the judges said the result was marred by Malawi Election Commission failing to audit votes properly and allowing the results to be altered.
“In every election there will be irregularities but in the present matter, it has been our finding that the irregularities were so widespread, systematic and grave that the results of the elections have been compromised and cannot be trusted as a reflection of the votes,” Healy Potani, the head of the panel of five judges, said.
Meanwhile, commentators say DPP will be haunted by nepotistic remarks made by Mutharika’s advisor on political affairs Francis Mphepo ahead of the forthcoming fresh elections.
According to an audio clip that has been circulating on social media, Mphepo said Mutharika will withdraw development projects in the Northern Region for the people’s ‘ungratefulness’.
Mphepo, in a statement through his personal assistant Peter Mangulenje, said he didn’t mean what he said.
President Mutharika and State House are yet to comment on the Constitutional Court ruling which has also reinstated UTM President Saulos Chilima as State Vice President, technically firing Chimulirenji.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :