The testimony from one of the witnesses for UTM presidential candidate Saulos Chilima in the ongoing presidential elections results challenge case has proved the narrative that it is easy to allege, but difficult to prove, especially when the allegations are made thoughtlessly as regards the cross examination of Darlington Ben Ndasauka.
Ndasauka, who was UTM’s consulting team leader at the National Tally Centre in Blantyre during the vote tallying and tabulation process, in his sworn witness statement, made wild and outlandish allegations that implied that the vote was manipulated in favour of the incumbent President Peter Mutharika – the first respondent in the case – by the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC), the second respondent.
He exhibited material relating to about 21 polling stations.
Having walked majestically into the witness box on Monday, Ndasauka, who prided himself to have been part of an electoral monitoring team at the National Tally, crumbled very easily under the weight of seemingly cordial and friendly cross examination by both the Attorney General Kalekeni Kaphale, who is representing MEC in his capacity as Chief Legal Adviser for government and President Mutharika’s lawyer Frank Mbeta.
Ndasauka readily admitted that he never witnesses any voting, vote counting or tallying.
He could not pick out any centre from the 21 he paraded, where any of the UTM monitors, who duly signed the tally sheets, had protested either their signatures on the tally sheets, or the candidate valid vote count.
Any corrections on the forms could not be questioned by him as he never participated in the counting or tallying.
In fact he conceded that all the corrections relating to statistical data for ballots and none related to candidate valid votes, which are used to determine poll results.
He also admitted that his assertions that the votes were manipulated or tampered with in favour of President Mutharika was an exaggeration and not borne out by any evidence.
In cases where he noted a tally sheet was fake, Ndasauka could not explain how or why UTM monitors signed the same and why, if the data in terms of candidate valid votes was not genuine, none has brought to court alternative figures knowing as he admitted, all monitors were given stream as well as polling station tally sheets right at the polling station.
Most importantly, despite the UTM party spending lots of time and effort training and deploying monitors at each and every polling station, Ndasauka admitted that for any result that he questioned, he never took time to speak to their monitors at any particular poliing station where the result was doubted.
In essence, Ndasauka’s testimony generated more light than heat; more smoke than substance and it confirmed what has always been the defence theory: the elections were not rigged at all.
Ndasauka’s testimony, like the previous witness, Miriam Gwalidi, dwelt on altered result sheets.
Chilima, who is first petitioner in the case, is alongside Malawi Congress Party (MCP) president Lazarus Chakwera (second petitioner), challenging the re-election of President Peter Mutharika, alleging that the presidential results in May were marred by irregularities and fraud.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :