After the concluding hearing evidence in the May 21 Tripartite Elections presidential poll results dispute after day 59 at the Constitutional Court in Lilongwe, as a matter of way forward, the judges have ordered UTM Party president Saulos Chilima the first petitioner and Lazarus Chakwera of Malawi Congress Party (MCP) the second petitioner, to file their written submissions by 4.30pm on December 10, 2019.
The panel of five judges comprising Ivy Kamanga, Dingiswayo Madise, Mike Tembo, Redson Kapindu and Healey Potani as chairperson, have also asled lawyers for the petitioners to serve President Peter Mutharika of Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), the declared winner, as first respondent and Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) the second respondent including the amicus curie [Friends of the court] including soft and hard copies.
The lawyers for President Mutharika and MEC are expected to file with court and also serve the petitioners their responses.
The friends of the court, thus Malawi Law Society and Women Lawyers Association are expected to file their submissions and serve on all parties to the case by 4.30 December 18, 2019.
The court will reconvene on 19 and 20 December, 2019 to hear oral and legal arguments and submissions from all parties. All the four parties to the case have been given three hours each to make their presentations and also one hour each to make their responses.
Judge Potani emphatically stated that the case will be decided solely on the evidence in court and properly presented and not any other consideration including public opinions.
“For use to arrive at the matter and in line with the procedure, we shall invite written and oral submission from all parties including amicus curie. In regard to submission we would wish to remind the parties that the matter came originally as a petition and was eventually certified into a constitutional referral. Constitutional referral originally answers the questions set out. As parties make submissions I wish to remind them to the questions,” he said.
In this case, the team for Chilima filed 38 sworn statements of which 34 were withdrawn and remained with four. All the four were called for cross examination.
The team for Chakwera filed sworn statements from 18 witnesses and statements from 12 witnesses were withdrawn remaining with 6 who were cross examined.
Professor Mutharika team had sworn statements from 43 witnesses and only two were called for cross examination although the statements by the others were not withdrawn and remain on record.
The MEC filed sworn statements from 651 witnesses, majority of which were presiding officers from centres that had Tip-Ex tally sheets and only three: Chief Elections Officer, Sam Alfandika; Director of Elections, Henzily Munkhondya and Director of ICT, Muhabi Chisi were called for cross examination.
During hearing of the matter, lawyers for both Mutharika and MEC focused on the fact that the alleged irregularities were not significant to influence the results while lawyers for the petitioners attempted to demonstrate how the use of duplicate and fake result sheets, correctional fluid Tippex and failure to adhere to procedures might have compromised the results and disadvantaged those who voted for the petitioners.
MEC has conceded that most of the irregularities took place, but said that did not affect the final result of the elections.
Mutharika was declared winner, officially tallying 38.5 percent of the vote, followed by Chakwera in second position with 35 percent of the vote and Chilima with 20 percent.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :