The submissions by first petitioner Saulos Chilima to the Constitutional Court challenging the re-election of President Peter Mutharika in May, says Mutharika’s two witnesses who testified in Court – Ben Phiri and Bob Chimkango – helped to prove claims of irregularities and electoral fraud.
Chilima was UTM Party’s candidate in the May 21 presidential election, while second petitioner Lazarus Chakwera contested on Malawi Congress Party (MCP) ticket. The two want the court to nullify Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) declaration of Mutharika as winner on grounds that the polls were fraudulent.
Mutharika was added to the case as first respondent.
His key witness Ben Phiri, who is also Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, admitted electoral flaws in May 21 elections when he was cross-examined by Chilima’s lawyer, Dr Chikosa Silungwe.
In the submission filed by Silungwe, he states that Phiri acknowledged that the presidential elections were marred by challenges that included officers filling in inappropriate boxes of the tally sheets because of failure to understand some terminologies.
Phiri, who was DPP’s director of elections during the polls, also admitted use of Tippex, duplicate forms and alterations of results on tally sheets by some polling staff.
In his sworn statement, Phiri stated that auditors which MEC hired to scrutinise and certify the electoral process, rejected many of the tally sheets because of missing signatures of some political parties.
In the submission, Silungwe states that UTM presidential hopeful presented his petition on the ground of irregularity and fraud.
“Both irregularity and fraud have been proven by the testimony of Dr Saulos Chilima, Mirriam Gwalidi, Darlington Ndasauka , Bright Kawaga (UTM witnesses); Lazarus Chakwera, Peter Lackson, Anthony Bendulo, Eisenhower Mkaka and Daudi Suleman (MCP witnesses),” reads part of the submissions.
Silungwe adds that the irregularities have been admitted by the first respondent through Ben Phiri and Bob Chimkango.
“The irregularities prove that there was undue return of Mutharika as President of Malawi on 27 May 2019,” read the submissions.
Silungwe during court hearing asked Phiri on his academic credentials and claimed that the minister’s bachelor’s degree in International Relations was obtained from an institution known as Atlantic International University which is associated with fake academic qualifications. Phiri was also quizzed on his Doctorate degree which he claimed was obtained from unknown Jerusalem Bible College.
The Chilima petition also addressed the constant questions over how the irregularities affected the valid votes, noting that each time MEC was asked about fake, tippexed or duplicate result sheet or where the presiding officer did not sign a result sheet or record log book, they asked witnesses whether the valid vote count affected the votes.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :