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.
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.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :