The Constitutional Court on Wednesday rejected lawyer Frank Mbeta for Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) presidential candidate in the disputed May 21 elections, Peter Mutharika from introducing documents in court by way of notice and directed him not to cross-examine Richard Chapweteka, a witness for the second petitioner Lazarus Chakwera of Malawi Congress Party (MCP).
Mbeta, representing Mutharika as the first respondent, wanted to use a Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) checklist of electoral materials in cross-examination.
But judge Ivy Kamanga on behalf of the five-judge panel advised Mbeta to make a formal application to use the document, saying it had made a direction of September 25 that documents would be accepted in the case by way of application and not through notices.
Chapweteka, who monitored MEC’s printing of the ballot papers in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, has since finished being cross-examined and re-examnied but would be recalled for cross-examination if the court accept the checklist to be used.
Mbeta said the dcocument was the last for their cross-examination
“We have already filled an application and it will be heard on Friday. All we want is a document which is called a packing list. When the printer from Dubai was shipping the electoral materials, they also included a packing list,” Mbeta told Times in an interview.
“So, it it that list that the parties and the electoral commission were using to cross-check the accuracy of contents of what was shipped so we want it to cross-examine witnesses.”
In the court, lawyer representing Chakwera, Modecai Msisha SC, accused MEC of appearing to discuss a lot of issues with the first respondent’s lawyers, saying the electoral body was supposed to be independent and not only be seen to favourable to Mutharika’s lawyers.
The court has since adjourned proceeding to Friday, where Msisha will also make application to have some changes in the sworn statements of two of their witnesses, Peter Lackson and Anthony Bendulo on Friday which will be heard alongside Mbeta’s application to introduce the checklist.
Chakwera and UTM presidential hopeful Saulos Chilima are seeking nullification of the presidential election results in the May 21 2019 Tripartite Elections over alleged irregularities and fraud. The two are also seeking a court’s order for a rerun.