Inspector General of Police Lexon Kachama has ruled out arson in the fire that gutted Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) warehouse in 2014.
Ballot papers and other crucial voting materials used in the May 2014 general election were burnt to ashes in a suspicious fire amid a court battle over parliamentary results in a constituency in Lilongwe between the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and main opposition, the Malawi Congress Party (MCP).
Kachama said a preliminary report after police investigations indicate the fire was accidental.
He said this on New Year Day at police headquarters in Lilongwe on the sidelines of a party organised for senior police officers.
“I don’t think the main report will change, the fire was accidental,” said Kachama.
However, Kachama’s comment is likely to spark a huge debate on the independence of the police in investigations involving allegations of a ruling party and the report is likely to be condemned by the opposition and the civil society movements.
Some people tipped the police that they saw a National Intelligence Bureau vehicle at the area just hours before the fire and they even gave details of the vehicle including registration number.
Officials from the Malawi Electoral commission say they can only comment after the report is out.