Former Justice and Constituional Affairs minister Samuel Tembenu , who is one of the lawyers for President Peter Mutharika, the first respondent in the presidential election results nullification petition, has asked the Constitution Court to dismiss the petition case which the two opposition leaders brought before the court disputing May 21 presidential election.
Tembenu addressing the court before parading witnesses for Mutharika who was added to the case by virtue of being the declared winner, said five-judge panel of Healey Potani, Mike Tembo, Dingiswayo Madise, Ivy Kamanga and Redson Kapindu should dismiss petitions of UTM Party president Saulos Chilima and Lazarus Chakwera of Malawi Congress Party (MCP) challenging results of the presidential race as “frivolous.”
He stated that the evidence before the court does support the allegations by the petitioner.
Tembenu said there was no electoral fraud as claimed by petitioners and that all election stakeholders including all political parties were involved and represented in the process from voter registration, the printing of ballot papers, voting, counting , verification, approval at the national tally center and announcing the results.
In addition to that, Tembenu said the evidence Mutharika’s legal team will give will show that the petitions by UTM and MCP leader are “frivolous and vexations.”
Said Tembenu: “Therefore the petitions have to be dismissed.”
Meanwhile, Mutharika has brought down the number of witnesses to testify from 70 to two.
Lead counsel for Mutharika, Frank Mbeta said Ben Phiri, the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) director of Elections and Blantyre-based lawyer Bob Chimkango, are the only ones to testify starting Friday.
Initially, Mutharika wanted to parade 243 witnesses but the Constitutional Court ordered them to reduce to 70.
Phiri is seen as the key witness as he has the insights on how the DPP operated and handled the elections and should brace for tough time from Chilima and Chakwera lawyers.
Lawyer for Chakwera, Mordecai Msisha said Mutharika’s legal team needs to communicate formally to the court over the decision to cut the number of witnesses for Mutharika.
The parading of the respondents’ witnesses follows the conclusion of testimony of witnesses for first petitioner Saulos Chilima (UTM Party president) and second petitioner Lazarus Chakwera (Malawi Congress Party president).
In the case, Chilima and Chakwera are seeking nullification of the presidential election results in the May 21 2019 Tripartite Elections and an order for a rerun.
Both MCP and UTM claim the May 21 presidential election was rigged in favour of Mutharika who was declared winner with 38 percent of the votes trailed by Chakwera with 35 percent and Chilima with 20 percent.
The petitioners cite irregularities, especially in the results management process, as some of the factors justifying nullification of the presidential election.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :