Court sets new rules to expedite elections case

Chilima coming out of court with his Vice Micheal Usi

The Constitutional Court sitting in Lilongwe for the Presidential elections petition case has set new  rules to help fast-tracking the and avoid unnecessary delays from concerned parties.

Among others, cross-examination has to be done by filing a notice indicating the name of the person to be examined and a specific paragraph to be examined on.

According to Chair of the Judges Justice Healey Potani, this would help the witnesses to be prepared and be more focused.

The notice to cross-examine should be filed and served by 4.00 pm on Wednesday.

Attorney General Kalekeni Kaphale asked the court for an update on the progress made periodically to enable them start preparing for their skeleton arguments before submission.

To ensure expedition of the matter, Chikosa Silungwe one of Saulos Chilima’s lawyers, urged parties to utilise the weekend to finalise the amended checklists so that the Wednesday deadline is complied with.

Lawyer for Peter Mutharika the second respondent in the case Charles Mhango said he did not have reservations in meeting the deadline and agreed with the need to limit cross-examination especially on matters which have already been tackled.

Peter Mutharika’s lawyer Frank Mbeta grilled the UTM President on the special gadgets his monitors were found with and upon interrogation it was discovered that the party never supplied them.

However, Silungwe raised objection on the use of a document which showed the torches as according to him this was never submitted to court but the objection was however over-ruled.

Mbeta queried if he considered it an anomaly the fact that he did not succeed in using the sms facility Malawi Electoral Commision (MEC) provided for voters to verify their details from home and if it impacted the outcome of the votes which Chilima said no.

The UTM President was also asked to explain if he had brought any evidence on the alleged pre-marked ballots dispatched by DPP cadets which he said he did not bring as an exhibit.

He was also grilled if the police were justified in its arrest of his party’s monitors for committing electoral offences to which he responded that this was in order.

From next Friday the Court will be finishing at 2.00 pm instead of 5.00 pm.

The case has since been adjourned to Monday 9.00 am when MEC lawyers will continue probing the first petitioner Chilima on issues in his petition.