DPP rejects arson charges, Police probe ballot fire

Malawi’s governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has rejected accusations that it is  behind the fire that gutted the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC)  warehouse in Lilongwe on Tuesday.

Opposition parties claim that the fire was deliberately started to destroy evidence that could have overturned the parliamentary victory of a member of DPP.

Last week, a high court in the capital Lilongwe ordered a recount of the votes in a constituency that was won by Bently Namasasu, a candidate for President Peter Mutharika’s DPP.

Kalirani (right) denies DPP involvement in the arson

Kalirani (right) denies DPP involvement in the arson

Opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) candidate Ulemu Msungama, who lost the election by 98 votes, had challenged the results and the case was due back in court on Thursday.

DPP Secretary General Jean Kalirani, who is also minister of health in Mutharika led administration, has distanced the party from the allegations of arson.

“We are keen as a DPP to know the people who are making such baseless allegations so that they should tell us what they know and that police should arrest those behind the fire accident,” Kalilani said.

“As a party we know nothing and we are concerned with the development, we are condemning the development in strongest terms if some people are behind it,” said Kalirani.

Police Inspector General Lot Dzodzi told state television that police had called in experts to probe the fire, which happened on Monday night.

The warehouse contained 1,500 ballot boxes, gas cylinders and gas lamps used during the May 20 elections.

The electoral commission does not link the fire to the court dispute at this stage and will await the results of the police investigation, he said.

Despite widespread allegations of cheating, outgoing president Joyce Banda conceded defeat.

 

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