Hearing of a petition seeking nullification of presidential elections results in the May 21 Tripartite Elections resumes this Monday as second petitioner Malawi Congress Party (MCP) presidential candidate Lazarus Chakwera has further reduced his number of witnesses as he now remains with only four to testify from an initial list of 17.
The four remaining witnesses are MCP secretary general Elsenhower Mkaka, legislator Richard Chimwendo Banda, IT experts Peter Bendulo and Dausi Sulemani.
But in the witness box now is third witness Peter Lackson Chimangeni, who continues to face Frank Mbeta, one of the lawyers of President Peter Mutharika who is the first respondent.
Before the case was adjourned a week ago, Lackson who strated out as the star witness was subjected to a cool but incisive barrage of probing questions by Mbeta.
Despite the witness having testified, in very over broad and woolly terms that his allegations of electoral irregularities were rooted in the Polling Station Procedure Manual, he was confronted with the manual and could not pin point any provision on it that supported any of his assertions.
Lackson could not identify any provision that prohibited use of duplicate tally sheets to collate the national result and admitted that the manual was in fact published before MCP demanded the printing of duplicate marked forms and hence could not have been expected to cover or prohibit that issue.
On alterations on forms, the witness was heavily bombarded with questions starting from his own statement that there was nothing wrong with alterations.
He admitted that alterations whether by tippex or pen were in order on condition they were signed for by monitors.
However on the point of witnessing alterations, Lackson was led through material and admitted that the polling station monitors were not accompanying the presiding officer when delivering results to the constituency tally centre and hence they could not have been expected to sign for alterations.
Still on this point, the witness noted from the polling station procedure manual that actually the tally sheets bearing the result forms were put in tamper proof envelopes at the polling stations and were delivered to the constituency tally centre by the presiding officer in the presence of security officers. Hence chances of the results being tampered with were minimal.
He also admitted that there were party monitors at the constituency tally centre who could have raised the alarm if any results sheets had been delivered in envelopes that had been tampered with.
Further he admitted that constituency tally centre monitors were able to contact their polling station counterparts to cross check the validity of the result sheet.
In relation to the role of auditors at the constituency tally centre, the witness told the court that the auditors were not to correct any aggregation errors at all. They were just to notice them.
However, Lackosn all the while indicated he had not seen the terms of reference of the auditors at all.
The witness further surprised the court when he said that he had identified the anomalies on the forms, set his own audit queries and terms of reference and proceeded to conduct the audit himself though he is an agronomist.
Earlier, Chimangeni also took questions during cross-examination from Attorney General Kalekeni Kaphale, who is representing Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) as the second respondent.
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.
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 UTM Party president Saulos Chilima, who is the first petitioner, are seeking nullification of the presidential election results over alleged irregularities.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :