Hands off poll results—MCP

The much anticipated Constitutional Court hearing on the disputed May 21 2019 Presidential Election yesterday began with a sensational allegation by lawyers of Malawi Congress Party (MCP) that Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) officials are still altering results of the elections.

Scores people gathered at the Lilongwe High Court premises yesterday for the scheduling conference for the trial—a judicial term for a hearing in which the parties involved discuss preliminary matters and administrative issues surrounding the case.

Mvalo: We want MEC to handover original documents to court

The hearing was heard in chambers hundreds of MCP and UTM sympathisers gathered outside the court, chanting anti-government songs and praising leaders of their respective parties.

UTM lead lawyer Chikosa Silungwe refused to speak to the media after the hearing, but briefing journalists outside the court, one of MCP’s lawyers, Senior Counsel Titus Mvalo, said the party had applied to the court to restrain MEC from tampering with election documents and hand over to court all original election-related documents.

“We have filed two applications—one is an application for discovery, the way MEC proceeded was that it was relying on duplicate (documents), but we want the original documents. That’s a disclosure application. Another application is on preservation of documents in their custody. Right now, we have seen that they are removing some documents from their website; why are they doing that?” he said.

UTM officials and lawyers walk out of the court after the ruling

According to Mvalo, the case has been adjourned to Wednesday and the court will continue hearing the various preliminary objections raised, and make rulings on the matter.

However, in separate interviews, lawyers of the two sides differed on how long they expect the case to take, with MCP lawyers saying they expect a speedy case while Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawyers said being a constitutional case, it will require more time.

“The honourable judges were very clear with this. They said the case must be expedited; it’s a case of national and international importance; there is will of the court to expedite the case,” said Mvalo.

One of DPP’s lawyers, Frank Mbeta, among other things, said the party has applied for the court to dismiss the case for flouting procedures on filing election results legal challenges and that the case, if it continues, is moved away from Lilongwe for security reasons.

“The issue of security has been raised; first, we noted that there is too much noise [around the court premises]. These people

[making noise]

toe a particular political line and, therefore, it might not be safe for others, including the court and counsel in the process. However, the court has undertaken to look into that issue administratively, but at the same time the court has asked the parties to implore on their supporters to refrain from making noise or creating any security threats,” he said.

On differences in timeframe for the conclusion of the case, Mbeta observed that the problem emanated from what he described as “an electoral petition turned into a constitutional matter”.

The case has attracted scores of lawyers with MCP’s Lazarus Chakwera alone—who is the second petitioner in the case, represented by lawyers from 10 legal firms, including Mordecai Msisha, Likongwe and Company, Juris Chambers, Lloyds Associates, Odeide Tax Lawyers, Albaart Chambers, Chris and Legal, Kawelo Lawyers.

President Peter Mutharika, DPP’s presidential candidate and eventual winner of the disputed official results announced by MEC, is represented by, among others, lawyers from Mbeta and Co, M & M Global, Pious Attorneys, Makiyi, Kanyenda & Associates and Mhango & Co.

Outside the court, UTM supporters were clad in party regalia, but they were outnumbered by the more vocal MCP supporters who at some point had to be calmed down by party officials as their actions riled presiding judges in the chamber.

In uglier scenes later, DPP vice-president (Centre), Uladi Mussa and other party officials were heckled and almost manhandled by irate supporters. DPP secretary general Greselder Jeffrey had to be rescued by police and temporarily sheltered inside the nearby district council office.

Both MCP and UTM are challenging the validity of the election results which declared Mutharika winner—accusing the ruling party alongside officials within MEC of rigging the elections in Mutharika’s favour.

According to the official MEC results, Mutharika won the elections by 1 940 709 votes against Chakwera’s 1 781 740, but the opposition says the elections were marred by several irregularities, among them, stuffing ballot papers with pre-marked ballots, tampering with election result sheets through correction fluid known as Tippex and officials keeping result sheets at home.

UTM president Saulos Chilima has specifically alleged that MEC chairperson Jane Ansah spearheaded a rigging plot as she was biased against both Chakwera and himself, claiming in a leaked letter to her that UTM has evidence of the allegations.

But DPP wants the case dismissed for purportedly being irregular, defective and lacking sworn affidavits.

The case has attracted scores of lawyers with MCP’s Lazarus Chakwera alone—who is the second petitioner in the case, represented by lawyers from 10 legal firms, including Mordecai Msisha, Likongwe and Company, Juris Chambers, Lloyds Associates, Odeide Tax Lawyers, Albaart Chambers, Chris and Legal, Kawelo Lawyers.

President Peter Mutharika, DPP’s presidential candidate and eventual winner of the disputed official results announced by MEC, is represented by, among others, lawyers from Mbeta and Co, M & M Global, Pious Attorneys, Makiyi, Kanyenda & Associates and Mhango & Co.

Outside the court, UTM supporters were clad in party regalia, but they were outnumbered by the more vocal MCP supporters who at some point had to be calmed down by party officials as their actions riled presiding judges in the chamber.

In uglier scenes later, DPP vice-president (Centre), Uladi Mussa and other party officials were heckled and almost manhandled by irate supporters. DPP secretary general Greselder Jeffrey had to be rescued by police and temporarily sheltered inside the nearby district council office.

Both MCP and UTM are challenging the validity of the election results which declared Mutharika winner—accusing the ruling party alongside officials within MEC of rigging the elections in Mutharika’s favour.

According to the official MEC results, Mutharika won the elections by 1 940 709 votes against Chakwera’s 1 781 740, but the opposition says the elections were marred by several irregularities, among them, stuffing ballot papers with pre-marked ballots, tampering with election result sheets through correction fluid known as Tippex and officials keeping result sheets at home.

UTM president Saulos Chilima has specifically alleged that MEC chairperson Jane Ansah spearheaded a rigging plot as she was biased against both Chakwera and himself, claiming in a leaked letter to her that UTM has evidence of the allegations.

But DPP wants the case dismissed for purportedly being irregular, defective and lacking sworn affidavits.

The case has attracted scores of lawyers with MCP’s Lazarus Chakwera alone—who is the second petitioner in the case, represented by lawyers from 10 legal firms, including Mordecai Msisha, Likongwe and Company, Juris Chambers, Lloyds Associates, Odeide Tax Lawyers, Albaart Chambers, Chris and Legal, Kawelo Lawyers.

President Peter Mutharika, DPP’s presidential candidate and eventual winner of the disputed official results announced by MEC, is represented by, among others, lawyers from Mbeta and Co, M & M Global, Pious Attorneys, Makiyi, Kanyenda & Associates and Mhango & Co.

Outside the court, UTM supporters were clad in party regalia, but they were outnumbered by the more vocal MCP supporters who at some point had to be calmed down by party officials as their actions riled presiding judges in the chamber.

In uglier scenes later, DPP vice-president (Centre), Uladi Mussa and other party officials were heckled and almost manhandled by irate supporters. DPP secretary general Greselder Jeffrey had to be rescued by police and temporarily sheltered inside the nearby district council office.

Both MCP and UTM are challenging the validity of the election results which declared Mutharika winner—accusing the ruling party alongside officials within MEC of rigging the elections in Mutharika’s favour.

According to the official MEC results, Mutharika won the elections by 1 940 709 votes against Chakwera’s 1 781 740, but the opposition says the elections were marred by several irregularities, among them, stuffing ballot papers with pre-marked ballots, tampering with election result sheets through correction fluid known as Tippex and officials keeping result sheets at home.

UTM president Saulos Chilima has specifically alleged that MEC chairperson Jane Ansah spearheaded a rigging plot as she was biased against both Chakwera and himself, claiming in a leaked letter to her that UTM has evidence of the allegations.

But DPP wants the case dismissed for purportedly being irregular, defective and lacking sworn affidavits.

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