In a surprise move in the on going Malawi elections dispute case at the Hight Court sitting as a Constitutional Court, the opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) has changed its stand on the request for a recount of the Presidential Poll and instead the party is now requesting a fresh election all together.
MCP contends that Mutharika “won a fraudulent election” fraught with irregularities, including alleged stuffing of ballot papers with pre-marked ballots, tampering with election results sheets through correction fluid and being found in possession of result sheets at home.
MEC declared Mutharika winner of the presidential race with 1 940 709 votes or 38.57 percent. The electoral body said Chakwera was on second position with 1 781 740 votes, representing 35.41 percent of the vote and Chilima, who debuted on the presidential ballot on UTM Party ticket after falling out with Mutharika last June, finished third with 1 018 369 votes or 20.24 percent.
Like MCP, UTM is seeking nullification of the election results.
On Monday, electoral body chairperson Jane Ansah dismissed calls for her to resign for allegedly compromising herself and mismanaging the May 21 Tripartite Elections and purportedly favouring President Mutharika.
Ansah, a judge of the Supreme Court of Appeal but seconded to MEC by the Judiciary Service Commission, told multi-award winning private broadcaster Zodiak Broadcasting Station (ZBS) in an exclusive interview insisted that the elections were not rigged despite all the top three candidates—President Peter Mutharika, Chakwera and Chilima—claiming rigging.
“There was no room for rigging because MEC made the whole process transparent. MEC is an elections management body and we worked together with all our biggest stakeholders to deliver a credible election. I look at the process we put in place and I don’t see any room for rigging. The process was watertight. It was almost impossible to rig. Monitors, observers and auditors were there. The figures are the right figures,” she said.
In the interview, Ansah refused to admit that the widespread use of correction fluid, widely known for the famous brand Tipp-Ex, was evidence of malpractice.
“Was Tippex used for positive or negative purposes? That’s the court to find out,” a composed Ansah said in a two-hour interview.
“Tippex is a trade name, it’s a correction fluid. You correct errors. That’s what the court will determine. Was Tippex used for positive or negative purposes?
She refused to open up on whether MEC has conducted an investigation into how Tipp-Ex was supplied, but downplayed its possible impact on the election outcomes.
The case has attracted scores of lawyers with MCP’s Chakwera alone—who is the second petitioner in the case, represented by lawyers from 10 legal firms, including Mordecai Msisha, Likongwe and Company, Juris Chambers, Lloyds Associates, Odeide Tax Lawyers, Albaart Chambers, Chris and Legal, Kawelo Lawyers.
President Peter Mutharika, DPP’s presidential candidate and eventual winner of the disputed official results announced by MEC, is represented by, among others, lawyers from Mbeta and Co, M & M Global, Pious Attorneys, Makiyi, Kanyenda & Associates and Mhango & Co.