The Attorney General Kalekeni Kaphale, who is representing Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) in the historic presidential elections petition case as Chief Legal Adviser for government, has laid out the theory of the electoral body before its three key witnesses testify, pointing out that MEC did not compromise any of the candidates right to be elected and that it “never cheated” therefore there shouldn’t be a rerun.
UTM Party president Saulos Chilima and Malawi Congress Party (MCP) presidential hopeful Lazarus Chakwera are seeking nullification of the elections on the basis of irregularities in the results management system.
But Kaphale said the electoral body followed a transparent electoral process and respected the wishes of the majority of voters to elect a candidate of their choice for the presidency in the May 21 elections.
“At any given moment when confronted with an issue during the administrative of the 2019 elections the Malawi Electoral Commisison had to decide and ensure that no candidate valid vote is compromised,” said Kaphale.
He stated that in its bid to uphold the candidates rights to be elected and the voters rights as well as ensure there is transparency and accountability, various laws and stakeholders were involved to ensure a credible election.
Kaphale said one of them is the political party or candidates representatives who are the ones who stand between the candidates and the electoral body.
He pointed out that the party or candidates monitors are party to the electoral process starting from registration process even before and that they were involved from voter registration, the printing of ballot papers, voting, counting , verification, approval at the national tally center and announcing the results.
“My Lady, My Lords; the political party representatives were not only there when registration was being done, they had access to the printing contract between Malawi Electoral Commission and the printer [in Dubai]. They witnessed votes counting, witnessed tallying at the polling station level, constituency tally centre and national tally centre,” said the Attorney General.
He also said the system was designed in such a way that even at stream level on polling, there were monitors.
Kaphale said at the national tally centre when results arrive and even before the MEC commissioners approved them, political party monitors were given the printed copy as well as auditors.
He said the defence theory of the MEC in the case is premised on the centrality of the monitors of political parties and candidates in the whole electoral process
“I think this is such a litigation or an occasion as we will demonstrate to the world that it is not for nothing that the representatives [monitors] was put in all areas,” he said.
He said monitors witnessed the whole electoral process and that if there was anything wrong relating to any candidate vote, they would have been able to come to court to present their contrary story.
“And it would have been a story without any basis because they would had Form 60 in their possession to contradict any result,” he said.
Kaphale stressed that there was no skulduggery or unscrupulous conduct by the electoral body to subvert the will of the people in the May 21 polls.
“Malawi Electoral Commission never cheated or never mishandled the elections, never confused, never misprocessed, never played around with any candidate valid votes. If this had happened, evidence would have been called. Evidence would have been presented to monitors and they would have brought it,” said Kaphale.
Kaphale further told the court that the transparency of MEC even goes towards the printing of the electoral materials in Dubai.
He said the petitioners Chilima of UTM and Chakwera of MCP only want to save their theory of their case, which he said in his submission it is a “fraud theory.”
Kaphale said the burden is on the petitioners to prove their case and that they need evidence to show that it was more probable than not that either an irregularity occurred and also that it affected the results of the elections.
He said the petitioners have not reached the threshold of proof of balance of probabilities to prove their case.
“This court must only disturb the voters choice if there is sufficient proof tendered in court,” pointed out Kaphale.
“I would like to remind the court of Malawi Electoral Commission letter of May 25 to Malawi Congress Party (MCP) they were asked what results do your monitors have. Are they in conflict with the result that we have and that was 25th May. We are getting to December and no monitor results that is contrary to MEC results is before this court.
“The question is why? For people that believed they were cheated, who had representatives on the ground, they would have presented the contrary result to the court, which brings to mind the issue about the consequences of failure to call a material witness that exist. That will have to play in the court mind, in a big way,” said Kaphale.
“My Lady, My Lords, the Malawi Electoral Commission has in excess of 700 witness statements. The majority whom are coming from poling station officers that are attesting to correctedness of the candidate valid votes on the tally sheets and that are also explaining any observed or alleged irregularities.The petitioners have chosen not to cross examine any of them,” he said.
Kaphale said MEC will parade three witnesses who include chief elections officer Sam Alfandika, director of electoral services Henzily Munkhondya and director of ICT Muhabi Chisi.
“They are going to say nothing wrong happened. Nobody cheated, monitors were given results sheets and the results that are with monitors should be the same that the commission had. Otherwise if they had different results those monitors would have seen them here,” said Kaphale.
He continued: “At the end of the day, this case, the petitioners case, is sadly to say what in Latin say brutum fulmen [empty noise], empty thunder, a multiplicity of allegations but without any rain drops on them and where are their monitors?
“At the end of the day, this case should be exposed for what it is, an attempt for people that may not have obtained a majority of votes to throw sand in the dish but then that compromises voters rights which the electoral commission and the court must be duty bound to protect.”
Kaphale prayed that the court should dismiss the petition for rerun for lacking merit, stressing it is an attempt to undermine the will of the people.
The five-judge panel comprising Ivy Kamanga, Healey Potani, Redson Kapindu, Mike Tembo and Dingiswayo Madise indicated it would conclude hearing the matter on December 6 and thereafter have about 45 days to deliver its verdict.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :