Malawi Electoral Commission rules out ‘votegate’

Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) chairperson Justice Maxon Mbendera has assured that the votes in the May 20 tripartite elections will not be stolen, promising to deliver a credible, free, fail and not-violent polls.

The opposition and other stakeholder have levelled harsh criticism at the MEC for irregularities and sounded rigging fears.

But Mbendera said it is not possible to rig elections.

He told an interface with Faith leaders in Mangochi on Wednesday that ballot papers has “security features” which would deter others from printing counterfeit.

Justice Mbendera:  There will be no rigging

Justice Mbendera: There will be no rigging

Mbendera also said the electoral body make decision through a consensus of all Commissioners who are party representatives.

The opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has been claiming they fear a vote-rigging scheme by the ruling People’s Party.

President of the United Democratic Front (UDF) Atupele Muluzi said there are plenty of rumours about alleged attempts by the ruling party to rig the forthcoming elections.

But Muluzi said: “It is not going to work. We are not sleeping in opposition and we know what is happening. We are monitoring closely.”

Recently, Malawi Congress Party (MCP) asked MEC to take PP to task for allegedly tampering with voter certificates in the maize distribution exercise.

Meanwhile, the Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC) has written MEC asking them to rectify anomalies experienced in the just-ended first phase of the voter’s roll verification exercise where names went missing and very few voters went to centres to verify their details.

The commission asked MEC to ensure no voter is disenfranchised due to operational and system challenges experienced during the exercise.

But MEC director of media and public relations Sangwani Mwafulirwa said most of the issues raised in the letter from the commission were addressed as they were being noted during the first phase.

He also said the electorate should know that apart from physically visiting voting centres to verify their names in the voters roll, the commission has also introduced Short Message Service and web facility that is giving people an opportunity to verify their details.

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