By Sitilitha Membenji
Battle for Mangochi-Monkey-Bay constituency is not yet over as Malawi Congress Party (MCP) parliamentary candidate for the constituency in the May 21 2019 Tripartite Elections, Gerald Kazembe, has filed an appeal at the Supreme Court, protesting the High Court’s verdict.
On Wednesday last week, at the High Court in Blantyre, Justice N’riva dismissed an application by Kazembe, who wanted the court to nullify the 2019 Parliamentary election results for Mangochi-Monkey Bay constituency.
But Court documents in possession of this reporter indicate that Kazembe, who is also the second Deputy General Secretary for MCP and indisputably the face of the ruling party in the eastern region, has taken the matter to the highest court.
In a telephone interview, Kazembe denied to divulge much but said: “I understand how democracy works and had always anticipated that this (case) would go all the way to the Supreme Court for final settlement.”
Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) declared incumbent Member of Parliament (MP) Ralph Jooma (Democratic Progressive Party-DPP) winner with 9,341 votes against Kazembe’s 9,052 votes.
Kazembe went on to petition the Court arguing that the election was marred by irregularities and that the outcome did not reflect the will of the people in the Constituency.
Despite being the first case to be filed at the high court, Kazembe’s election petition was the last to be disposed of by the High Court of Malawi having nullified election results of at least six constituencies.
Kazembe is challenging the results as he alleges several irregularities in the results. He alleges MEC committed fraud by exaggerating figures after polling was closed, adding that there were fake result sheets that were used instead of the originals.
Kazembe also told the Blantyre High Court that his monitors, who were two at each polling stream including the district tally centre, faced a hostile environment from his opponents monitors.
The results were also altered using a correction fluid Tipp-Ex, according to Kazembe.
The 2019 Malawi presidential election was dubbed the ‘Tipp-Ex election’ on social media, referring to a brand of correction fluid, after ballot tally papers emerged with areas painted with the white liquid and written over, supposedly altering results.
The Supreme Court of Appeal already ruled that the use of Tipp-Ex was against electoral laws and consequently the 2019 presidential elections and parliamentary elections in some constituencies were annulled on the ground.