The Constitutional Court in Lilongwe has allowed witness for Malawi Congress Party (MCP) presidential hopeful Lazarus Chakwera, Richard Chapweteka, to file new document on electoral materials packing list from printer in Dubai.
Friday morning, MCP lead counsel Mordecai Msisha applied before a panel of five-judges hearing the May 21 Tripartite Elections case presidential results that Chapweteka received documents from an anonymous “well wisher” which he intended to file so that it should be used during his cross examination.
Msisha said the document has original information that will support Chapweteka in court.
However, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) President Peter Mutharika’s lawyer challenged the application citing that time for filling fresh documents was over.
Private practicing lawyer Tamando Chokotho, who is representing Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC), also argued against the filing of the document, saying it is already filed under the sworn statement of their witness, Samuel Alfandika.
“So it will be irrelevant for the second petitioner to apply to file the same document which is already before this court,” he said.
Chokotho further asked for the disclosure of the said ‘well wisher’ who sent the document.
It its ruling, the court said the witness is entitled to introduce the documents which he believes is the original packing list.
“The court is convinced that there is need for witness to file this document,” said Justice Mike Tembo on behalf of the panel.
On the identity of the well wisher, the court also upheld MCP’s stand to have the identity of the well wisher hidden.
“We hold the view that the sworn statement in support reveal that the source of the said document is a well wisher who sought strict confidentiality. It is courts views that ordinarily this would not suffice for purposes of identification. However, we are mindful that we have ea duty to ensure these proceedings are dealt with justly in view of overriding objective of CPR 2019 order 1 rule 5,” said the judge.
“Considering the peculiar circumstances and sensitivity, the court reckons that some witnesses in the absence of effective witness protection regime, they might seek anonymity as is the case in the present case. Thus the court has allowed introduction and use of the documents,” he said.
The judge however said they are not creating a procedural precedent, saying each case should be dealt with its peculiar stand.
Chakwera, who is second petitioner in the case, is alongside UTM Party president Saulos Chi lima (first petitioner), challenging the re-election of President Peter Mutharika, alleging that the presidential results in May were marred by irregularities and fraud.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :