Atupele calls for peaceful transition to save Malawi from turmoil

United Democratic Front (UDF) president, Atupele Muluzi said Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) has created a Constitutional crisis for failing to address irregularities and challenges facing the electoral process but has called for a united front to ensure peaceful transition.

Atupele has since called on the main presidential candidates, especially DPP’s Peter Mutharika and MCP’s Lazarus Chakwera, to immediate meet and map way forward following President Joyce Banda’s decree to nullify the presidential elections.

Addressing the media in Blantyre, Atupele argued that it is only MEC that has mandate to nullify the elections and therefore called on Malawians to be patient while they are fighting for credible and transparency in the way the electoral body handles complaints raised.

Atupele Muluzi:  Needs peaceful progress
Atupele Muluzi: Needs peaceful progress

He, however, demanded an independent audit and investigations on irregularities political parties have raised concerning the electoral process especially on bloated figures of electorates and votes in some polling centres.

“There is a total mess MEC has created. It needs to explain to us on how it will rectify these irregularities. This mess has created Constitutional crisis. I hope the mess can be rectified but we call for independent audit and investigations,” said Atupele.

He said Banda never consulted UDF on her decision to nullify the elections but was quick to call for fellow presidential candidates to immediately meet and discuss way forward.

However, Atupele while refusing to admit if he supports Banda’s decision or not, said there was room for somebody to challenge the decree in court of law.

“There is a room for possible challenge. The courts have powers to determine if she is empowered or not. But I should emphasize here that it is only MEC that has sole mandate to manage elections, and MEC is not yet done with its job,” he added.

The UDF leader said was ready to accept defeat only if the electoral process would be credible, arguing MEC has to address the irregularities before proceeding in announcing the final results.

Banda exercising her powers under Section 88 (2) of the Constitution issued a decree to nullify the elections following irregularities that marred the process. She ordered fresh elections in 90 days but confirmed she will not contest, if the elections are to be redone.

But MEC has proceeded with vote counting after its Chairperson, Maxon Mbendera urged his staff to stand by him in what he described “difficult times”.

In earlier partial results MEC released on Friday night, DPP president, Peter Mutharika based on 30 percent of official results, was leading with 683,621 votes representing 42 percent, President Joyce Banda’s People’s Party with 372,101 votes representing 23 percent.

Lazarus Chakwera of Malawi Congress Party has 289,145 votes representing 18 percent and Atupele Muluzi of the United Democratic Front has 269,250 votes representing 16 percent.

MEC admitted that the number of votes cast in some polling stations exceeded the number of registered voters.

“Through the results management system the Commission has identified 19 polling centres of the 1333 processed so far, where the number of votes cast at a polling center have exceeded the number of registered voters at the polling centre.,” said Mec chairperson Maxon when he announced preliminary results of the tripartite polls Friday night.

Mbendera said they are quaranting these results which will be investigated through the Commission’s audit systems.

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