One of the key witnesses for UTM Party presidential candidate Saulos Chilima says Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) pledged during the May 21 Tripartite Elections results transmission that any altered results would not be admitted by the electoral body.
Mirriam Gwalidi, who worked as the party’s roving monitor but was stationed at the Main Tally Centre in Blantyre, on Wednesday began testifying in court under cross-examination from Attorney General (AG) Kalekeni Kaphale, who is representing MEC in the presidential election petition case.
She tussled with Kaphale and rejected several of the AG’s attempts to make her admit that the evidence provided in her sworn statement did not amount to electoral fraud or serious irregularities.
A trained HIV testing and counselling officer, Gwalidi remained steadfast in insisting she was the right witness to testify on what transpired and when she felt short of offering details, told the court other witness statements provided the answers required.
She went on to provide details, including others Kaphale frowned upon as unsolicited, on how her statement provides evidence of such irregularities and later used a projector to demonstrate to the court result sheets which were manually altered.
The witness told the court that upon noticing the use of Tippex, her team of UTM Party representatives at the Main Tally Centre met MEC chairperson Jane Ansah who assured them that the electoral body would not admit Tippexed results.
Said Gwalidi: “She told us where mistakes would have arisen, the commission would provide fresh result sheets to be used.”
Kaphale argued the sworn statements only indicate there was use of Tippex but fail to show evidence that the Tippex was used to change the results and add wrong vote figures, to which Gwalidi responded “there must be an explanation to that”.
At some point, the AG appeared to compliment Gwalidi’s handling of the cross-examination, stating UTM Party seemed to have been “organised” and “engaged intelligent people like you”.
Earlier, under re-examination by his lawyer Chikosa Silungwe, Chilima, who is the country’s immediate-past vice-president and the first petitioner in the case, finished his testimony on a high note. Silungwe asked Chilima several questions to confirm the details in sworn statements amounted to evidence that the elections were marred by intimidation and bribery.