Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) said on Saturday that it was against a move take by Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) to have a vote-by-vote recount in the May 20 Tripartite Elections to resolve glaring irregularities that have been discovered during tallying.
MEC Commissioner Emmanuel Chinkwita Phiri told a news conference on Saturday that the commission has agreed with electoral stakeholders, including the DPP, Malawi Congress Party (MCP), the People’s Party and United Democratic Front (UDF) to have a re-count of ballots.
But DPP spokesperson Nicholas Dausi said his party did not approve MEC’s decision because it does not believe the security of the ballot boxes after voting is guaranteed.
Dausi said it is DPP stand that that recounting should only have been done MEC announced official winner of the elections.
“It is clear DPP leader Professor Aurther Peter Mutharika is heading for victory. Let MEC declare him winner first, he should be sworn in as next president and the rest can follow,” said Dausi.
MCP presidential candidate, Lazarus Chakwera backed the move to audit the votes, saying the preliminary report MEC released on Saturday which indicated DPP candidate Peter Mutharika was leading with 42 percent of the votes counted was not a true reflection of the votes.
Addressing journalists at the party’s headquarters in Lilongwe late Saturday, Chakwera claimed that he had credible information that his party MCP is the one leading in the polls.
He accused the MEC of going ahead with vote counting without paying attention to other parties’ complaints.
UDF spokesperson Ken Ndanga applauded MEC for deciding to recount the votes, calling it “the most sober decision” considering the magnitude of the irregularities that have been detected in most polling centers across the country.
Kenneth Msonda, spokesman for President Joyce Banda’s People’s Party, said. the electoral process had been “marred by a lot of irregularities on vote tabulation.”
Citing “fraudulent and rampant irregularities”, Banda earlier on Saturday declared the national poll “null and void”. Fresh elections should be held within 90 days but she would not stand as a candidate, she said, to “give Malawians a free and fair” election.
Banda’s main rival, Mutharika, said: “Nothing in the constitution gives the president powers to cancel an election. This is clearly illegal, unconstitutional and not acceptable.”
Mutharika added: “There is no legal basis for stopping the election. We have become a laughing stock and the sooner it ends the better for us. I appeal to the president to ask people to be calm and I hope she abandons the path she is taking because we don’t need to take this country on the path of violence.”
It will take 25 days to recount manually, according to MEC.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :