UTM lawyer questions absence of Ansah, MEC commissioners in Malawi election case witness box

UTM Party lead lawyer in the ongoing landmark in the presidential elections nullification petition case has raised questions over the absence of the Malawi Electoral Commissioner (MEC) and other commissioners as witnesses in the case when first petitioner Saulos  Chilima on Thursday outlined his final oral submission to the court through his legal team.

Chilima and UTM lawyer Dr Chikosa Sulungwe at the court challenging results
MEC chairperson Jane Ansah and commissioners: Did not testify in court

Lawyer Dr Chikosa Silungwe made the questions on Thursday afternoon when he was presenting his final submissions to the court.

Silungwe said the Attorney General Kalekeni Kaphale, who is representing MEC (the second respondent) in his capacity as government’s chief legal adviser, questioned the absence of poll monitors by petitioners as witnesses to the case but has failed to provide an explanation why MEC commissioners were absent.

He said Ansah and the other commissioners had specific constitutional duties.

Silungwe said there is no law which forces election monitors to give evidence during an election case.

Apparently, Silungwe’s reference to the Commissioners, has been fully backed by the Malawi Law Society (MLS) which in submission indicated that a party that fails to bring its key witness to court when that witness is alive must be taken to account because its exclusion is out of fear that “such a witness might have given testimony adverse to the case of the party.”

Asked by the president judge Healy Potani if the Commissioners were material witnesses, Silungwe said that this should be the case considering most of the issues kept on refering to the commissioners but none came forward.

On the AG’s accusation that monitors never brought a case or complaints, Silungwe said there is no law that says elections are run by monitors, hence, they don’t have legal rights to bring election disputes to courts. The same line was advanced by Women Lawyers Association.

Silungwe also contended that “there is no law that says that in an election dispute, the only evidence that must be believed is that of a monitor.”

In concluding his submission, Silungwe said the monitors were not the Commission and that Monitors were not public servants.

“The majority of evidence in this court is Form 66 C as produced by second respondent (MEC) which is the public institution.

“Where is chairperson Ansah, this is pertinent question because Section 75 establishing the Electoral Commission will lead us to find human beings embodied in that commission which includes  chairperson Ansah and other commissioners. They haven’t testified in this court,” said Silungwe.

“MEC is a constitutional body and the stakes are high in the expectation on the citizenry in relation to the public institution and its discharge to the constitutional duty,” he added.

Silungwe reiterated that the petitioner prays for the nullification of the May 21, 2019 elections basing on the massive irregularities that have been proven throughout the trial.

Commenting on the contentious burden of proof, Silungwe said he agrees with Women Lawyers Association that the burden of proof is dual once the petitioner outlines a prima facie of the case to the court. Silungwe said, “Sadly the Malawi Law Society is oblivious to that fact.”

He said the first petitioner has throughout the case managed to prove his case through various witnesses highlighting the irregularities that second petitioner, the Malawi Electoral Commission committed when administrating the elections.

At the time of posting  this news online, lawyers for the second petitioner MCP president Lazarus Chakwera had started their final oral submission before the respondents take their turn on Friday, which marks last day of the whole hearing journey.

The court is then expected to give ruling 45 days after December 21 with sources in the Judiciary indicating that the judges hearing the case; Healey Potani, Ivy Kamanga, Dingiswayo Madise, Redson Kapindu and Mike Tembo have given themselves not beyond January 25.

In the case being heard by the High Court of Malawi sitting as the Constitutional Court, the petitioners want the court to nullify the presidential election results in the May 21 Tripartite Elections over alleged irregularities, especially in the results management system.

President Peter Mutharika of Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), by virtue of being the declared winner of the presidential race, is the first respondent.

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19 Comments
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Chechamba
Chechamba
2 years ago

Namathanga, that DPP Commisioner who used to sit next to Ansah was the key decision maker within the Commission.What else could Voters expect?Time has come for all of us to wake up.

Bisoni
Bisoni
2 years ago

Wina andithandizeko ndikeyala yaDr Sulungwe ndaagulira chipeso

Mtete
Mtete
2 years ago

Just as well the devils advocates most of them men//women of the collar,, did not come forward as witnesses because they would have sweated even more than Alfandika.

Oops
Oops
2 years ago

Mmmmm si Jane ansah tu galu wapa chain akhozanso kuuwa awa simuwatha ali ngwingwingwi ndi pitala tippex

Masozi
Masozi
2 years ago

Ganja meditation at best

Madala
Madala
2 years ago

A Silungwe, funsoli la lero? Munali kuti? After the case? U lawyer winawu. Ndiye mukufuna abwere? Ife tikufuna nkhaniyi ithe tiyambe kulima. Mukuchedwesanso mvula inu a Silungwe.

Joni
Joni
2 years ago
Reply to  Madala

Imvetseni nkhani Madala….werengani mpaka pomaliza ndithu!

Lego
2 years ago

Take them on Silungwe

Mr Truth Pains
2 years ago

Without beating about the bush, we all wonder why these commissioners are not coming forward to give their side of the story on how decisions were made/ taken during these tripartite elections . MCP lawyer Modecai Msiska asked about minutes of commissioners meetings but nothing is coming forward or even these commissioners coming forward to explain of where about of the minutes. This simply shows Jane Ansah was taking decisions from Muntharika and not fellow commissioners. Jane Ansah has been cornered, as of now she think she made a big mistake by not resigning on time bcoz now she knows… Read more »

Chilipa Thako
2 years ago

kkkkkk Nthawi kuganizanso kwambiri you end up missing simple and straight forward things ,chifukwa choganiza kuti manifesto yanu imamveka ngati yabwino ,imapatsa chiyembekezo aMalawi, ndi chifukwa chokwanira kuti simungalephere masankho , mudayiwala kuti kale lanu anthu sadaliyiwale .Akanena kuti umboni omveka bwino ndi zomwe diso laona pa nthawi yomweyo chakwayipa chikuchitika ndipo nthawinso yomweyo oonayo achitepo kanthu koti tsiku lina kadzamchitire umboni za chakwayipacho , osati zongoganiza kuti tikuona ngati kuti azanthuwa adatipinda apa ,ayi zikukhala ngati kuti penapake zinthu sizinakhale bwino . Umboni ndi zomwe diso laona osati zoganiza ayi .Anthu osalakwa akuolera ku ndende chifukwa chongoganiziridwa

Kaka
2 years ago

UTM MOTO

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