The Constitutional Court hearing a petition case about the presidential election results has agreed with the prayer by one of the lawyers representing Malawi Congress Party (MCP) presidential hopeful Lazarus Chakwera, Mordecai Msisha, a respectable Senior Counsel (SC), that cross- examination from Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) and President Peter Mutharika legal team should not dwell on second petitioner, Chakwera’s character or conduct.
Mshisha asked the court to object MEC and Mutharika lawyers to cross examine Chakwera and his witnesses on certain areas considered irrelevant such as character evidence on the second petitioner.
In its determination, the five-judges panel ordered that Chakwera’s cross-examination should not border on character or his conduct.
“The [respondents] failed to show why that is relevant… they have not demonstrated in any way how his character is an issues for the purposes of determining the constitutional question,” said the judge.
Reading the ruling for about an hour, one of the judges Mike Tembo, the Court quashed another application by Chakwera’s lawyers who questioned the rationale behind MEC and Mutharika’s lawyers wishing to cross-examine each other’s witnesses when they essentially hold the same view in the matter before the court – that is objecting to the annulment of the presidential election results on the basis of mismanagement.
The Court said MEC in the interest of justice the two respondents can cross-examine each other, saying they were not holding same view.
But the court ordered the respondents to bring such areas in a checklist to be submitted to co court by September 26 2019 by 4pm.
Lawyer Msisha, a constitutional law expert, also asked the court that MCP witnesses should be allowed to “amplify” their sworn statements submitted to court as evidence-in-chief.
But the court also rejected that, saying that would be sneaking in new evidence in the case.
Tembo said in proceedings of this nature, evidence is accepted upon application, not notices to the court.
Justice Tembo said Chakwera’s legal team did not notify the respondent about the intention for witnesses to amplify their evidence, save for one witness Daud Sulemani, who according to recorded, the Court said it was indicated in his sworn statement that he would amplify his testimony and court said he will be allowed to do so but on specific areas.
The rejection was extended ti Richard Chapweteka, Mphatso Augustine Sambo and Anthony Bendulo.
The court also ordered MEC to bring gadgets which Chakwera requested and were mentioned in the case, and this should be brought to court not later than the day Suleman would be presented for cross examination in the witness stand.
Meanwhile, chairperson of the panel of judges presiding over the case, Healey Potani, adjourned the case to Thursday when Chakwera will enter the witness box to state his case and be cross-examined.
Chakwera and UTM Party president Saulos Chilima are challenging results of the presidential election which MEC Chairperson Jane Ansah declared was won by Mutharika. The results indicated that Chakwera was second and Chilima third.
The case is being heard by a panel of five High Court judges comprising Healey Potani, Mike Tembo, Dingiswayo Madise, Redson Kapindu and Ivy Kamanga.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :