Independent parliamentary aspirant for Mangochi West Constituency, Simeon Harrison challenging the results
By Kunkeyani Kumbepula
High Court Judge, ZiwoneNtaba on Wednesday adjourned a case to Monday, June 17, in which Independent parliamentary aspirant for Mangochi West Constituency, Simeon Harrison, is Challenging the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) for declaring Democratic Progressive Party (DPP’s) Jeffrey Chiwondo as the eventual winner in the just ended tripartite elections, when the final tally showed that he actually trailed Harrison with one vote .
The matter has gone for judicial review, and Harrison is asking the court to nullify MEC declaration and also to stop Chiwondo from swearing in on Monday before parliament start sitting for its 48th session.
Making his submission, lawyer for the applicant (Harrison), Wester Kossam,requested the court to adjourn the matter to Monday as he had just exchanged fresh documents with his defence counterparts and needed time to study them.
“This is a serious matter and requires serious and detailed attention. I would therefore like to plead with you My Lady to consider adjourning the matter to Monday to allow us space to prepare,” pleaded the lawyer to which Ntaba agreed.
According to court documents, some MEC officials at Mangochi West Constituency tally centre connived to deliberately announce result from an unsigned result sheet which had an error showing Chiwondo as the winner; they deliberately ignored a corrected result sheet which was signed and certified by the Constituency Returning Officer (CRO)and showed Harrison as the eventual winner with 4518 votes against 4517 votes for Chiwondo.
This case has raised sufficient interest in Mangochi, particularly from organisations such as NICE which was also part of the observing mission and signed for the final result declaring Harrison as winner of the constituency.
“ We are ready to testify even in a court of law because we were there when the votes were counted. We signed for the results and all monitors from different political parties also signed for the results, including the CRO, declaring Harrison as the winner. We were wherefore shocked to hear MEC declaring Chiwondo as the winner,” said an official from NICE opting for anonymity.
This is probably the first case from the highly disputed May 21 tripartite elections to be heard at the high court. It is the reason why it appears to generate substantial interest from various stakeholders as it may set a precedence of so many other cases to come from this election…