Suleman hit by questioning: Kaphale, Chokhotho rip into key testimony in Malawi poll case

Attorney General (AG) Kalekeni Kaphale and private practice lawyer Tamanda Chokhotho, both representing Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) on Tuesday rounded up the Daud Suleman, the sixth witness for the second petitioner, in cross-examination of the landmark the presidential elections nullification petition case.

Kaphale was cross-examining Suleman who came in the limelight for making a simulation of the results management system in court to demonstrate how the MEC system could have been compromised

During cross-examination, Suleman made so many concessions in his testimony that could cause discomfort in the Malawi Congress Party (MCP) camp.

Being a self-proclaimed guru in information and communications technology (ICT) profession devoid of any undergraduate degree, and acknowledging the importance of any IT person to understand and master the clients processes, Sulemani surprised everyone when he said he does not know the difference between a vote and a ballot and that a vote only exists in the Results Management System (RMS).

When confronted by Kaphale with Polling Station Results sheet 66C, which clearly records candidates’ votes and exists outside the IT system, he failed to fumble his way through.

The witness also came out with a bloodied nose when he claimed he did not know about the existence of Form 60C, the primary record for Presidential candidate votes.

Suleman made another important admission that actually, the IT system is a mere information transmission or transportation and aggregation system, stating that without it, it is possible to determine the result of any election and this has been the case since time immemorial.

After this admission he was made to note that MEC published all the election results on its website.

Pressed by Kaphale if he bothered after having noted his concerns with the MEC IT system, to manually aggregate the published results and find out if MEC’s result is wrong, Suleman told the court he never bothered to do this, although admitting the capability and competence to do so.

Suleman was later asked about what outputs a well run parallel tally centre must produce. He told the court that among others, it must come up with a vote tally from its own sources and validate the MEC tally.

His attention was immediately drawn to the fact that MEC parallel voter tally centre had not presented to court any figures of what they think each candidate got. Suleman admitted they had not done so, despite professing competence and ability to do so.

Suleman admitted that MEC was transparent enough to have monitors witness the voting, vote counting, vote tallying, and recording process and they even were availed copies of results sheets.

He also conceded that despite all his allegations against the MEC IT system, he had been unable to bring to court any result sheet that could have been tampered during transmission.

Suleman actually observed that MEC’s act of distributing tally sheets to monitors at the national tally centre was aimed at allowing complaints and comments on discrepant results before the same were posted.

Getting into his presentation on the MEC IT system, he admitted during cross-examination with Chokhotho that his critique about a kit in Mulanje South West and Thyolo East were wrong as the data he presented was for Local Government elections relating to Luchenza township which straddles the two constituencies so the local government result was correctly captured using one kit and the data clearly showed it was for local Government elections.

The same went for his critique of the Blantyre West election results.  He was made to observe that the result he was questioning related to Parliamentary elections and the data had nothing to do with the Presidency.

To cap it all, Chokhotho also aimed at damaging the credibility of Suleman as he was put on spot that that his Microsoft Certification, obtained in 2004, had expired, and so had his CISCO networking certification.  This left him with only the Masters (MSc) in Strategic Management and Masters in Communications Management, none of which are an official IT Auditing certification.

Being heard by a panel of five judges, Healy Potani, Mike Tembo, Dingiswayo Madise, Redson Kapindu and Ivy Kamanga, the case has UTM Party president Saulos Chilima as the first petitioner, Chakwera as the second petitioner.

President Peter Mutharika of Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), in his capacity as the declared winner, is the first respondent with MEC as the second petitioner.

The petitioners 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.

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ICT EXPERT
Guest
ICT EXPERT

KKKKKK, I LIKE THE WAY CHILIMA AND CHAKWERA ARE LOOKING AT AG KKKKKKKKKKK. MFANA WOSOKONEZA KWABASI UYUYU

Local Lawyer
Guest
Local Lawyer

The problem is that everyone is writing comments with party colours in mind , what you should know courts don’t go for the real truth on the ground but evidence to case. You can kill someone with a gun but if the finger prints of someone is in the gun he can be arrested not the one who kill the person . This is what the court does.Lets make our conclusions after the last testimony in court, it many happen that Suleman is saying the real truth of the saver but Chisi can come tell the court that the system… Read more »

petit malunda
Guest
petit malunda

i hope justice shall prevail,we should all accept the outcome of the verdict without compromising the peaceful malawi

TMAN
Guest

The last joker torn into pieces.Ngongole pa Benchpo zachuluka.

najere
Guest
najere

You would have to be a complete idiot to think Suleman said anything sensible. He just presented how election rigging is done through deliberate or planned hacking of a computer system. Because of low levels of education and exposure to IT systems in Malawi, many people who did not know that hacking is a common trick used to interfere in computer systems believed Suleman. Of course, most of peoplthe e who believed Suleman are MCP and UTM supporters. But sorry! Kaphale has asked simple questions and the entire simulation by Suleman has been torn into pieces.

Joloza
Guest

Going by what the paper is saying, Suleman had no evidence because his argument was based on the data for MPs and councillors. He failed to prove reasonable doubt by his expertise in IT that the elections were rigged. Our problem is that our minds are corrupted by politics. Therefore our analysis is wrong.

trappes
Guest
trappes

This is not a criminal case , where you have to prove beyond reasonable doubt my guy

Charlie Hebdo
Guest
Charlie Hebdo

My opinion is that two lawyers, Kaphale and Chokhota are at a loss of how they can respond to Suleman’s testimony. So far they have failed to dismiss the fact that MEC Chair announced the results before every vote was counted, that there was/were ghost user(s), that the RMS had weak controls, that tippex was used probably to tally with the results MEC assigned to candidates before hand, that only a handful of results were properly approved. They have dwelt so much on paper qualifications of Suleman and the manual process which we already know was messed up. Claiming the… Read more »

Jenala
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Jenala

so you have become a judge yourself.

Hara boy!!! Own chilumba citizen!!! Karonga!!!
Guest
Hara boy!!! Own chilumba citizen!!! Karonga!!!

mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm cadet wakondwa eti!!!!!!!!!!!!! Akubwera SC Msiska with re-examination. Muzamva pain then. It will be time for more explaination anyapapi inu

Chitemwano
Guest
Chitemwano

Koma this Daudi, how can he use data for parliamentary elections and local government elections to make conclusions on presidential elections. Was it to manipulate judges’ minds because of the technical nature of his evidence? Its a shame how such mediocrity can be allowed in a high profile case like this. It appears to me after all, that both sides are using desperate measures to win the case. None of them is exonerated and as such may the judges pass the verdict which is for the common good ; peace to prevail. Philosophically speaking, a rerun is a greater evil… Read more »

Kennedy
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Kennedy

The question is what did the judge get from this? Suluman made a good point which cannot be dismissed. Kaphale is defending lies and it will not help this time. Evidence is there something was up during elections. We will not stop till we get to the bottom of this.

Manje
Guest
Manje

The responce to the technical allegations will be well handled by chisi. And cemented during reexamination by kaphale

Ambuje Kukaya
Guest
Ambuje Kukaya

That is everyone’s expectation too to hear the ghost user was and why the audit trail was deleted.