President Peter Mutharika, the first respondent in the presidential election results nullification petition, has 42 witnesses who have sworn statement but paraded only two witnesses to be cross-examined by petitioners’ lawyers.
Frank Mbeta, one of the lawyers representing Mutharika who was added to the case by virtue of being the declared winner, said there were about 42 witnesses who have sowrn statement filed with the court.
He said out of those 42 witnesses, the petitioners only expressed interest to cross-examine two who were at the National Tally Centre in Blantyre.
The other 40 witnesses, Mbeta said, are monitors that were in different polling centres across the country.
Initially, Mutharika’s legal team had submitted to court to question some 243 witnesses in the ongoing election case but the judges rejected the check list as not candid enough.
The witnesses who testified for Mutharika were his former aide now Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Ben Phiri and
The rwo witnesses have been considered awful with private practice lawyer Modecai Msisha (Senior Counsel) who is lead counsel for second petitioner and Malawi Congress Party (MCP) president Lazarus Chakwera, dismissed Phiri’s evidence as an attempt to defend Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC), the second respondent.
Phiri, who is also Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) director of elections, was followed by Blantyre-based lawyer Bob Chimkango.
Chimkango was cross-examined by Bright Bright Theu representing first petitioner and UTM Party president Saulos Chilima but Msisha said he did not want to repeat questions posed to the witness by Theu.
But Mbeta who completed re-examination of Mutharika witnesses said he was satisfied that the two had demonstrated that the petitioners’ claims of irregularities was not backed by evidence.
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 40 days to deliver its verdict.
Chilima—who contested in the May 21 Tripartite Elections presidential race while having the title of the country’s vice-president after being voted to the office as a pair with Mutharika in 2014—and Chakwera are seeking nullification of the elections on the basis of irregularities in the results management system.
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