An electoral audit report by BDO Jordan on the processing and transmission of results for the May 21 2019 elections which shows Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) accepted unverified results at National Tally Centre in Blantyre will trigger more appetite for protests to force MEC chairperson Jane Ansah to resign, human rights defenders have said.
Ansah claimed she followed every necessary steps before announcing results of the elections and that her commission had done thorough job in preparing results, ensuring that they were credible and that all grievances and complaints were duly addressed.
But the audit report damns MEC, as it shows there were 275 forms which were affected by the correctional fluid Tippex, 65 forms were manually changed, 45 result sheets had missing signatures, while 66 forms did not have political parties’ signatures.
Some Forms 66 sheets, according to the auditors’ report, were unclear; other forms used were not original and even more were excessively Tippexed by presiding officers.
“In terms of controlling and reconciling the transmitted results, MEC was unable to specify what was verified by the auditors and what was not,” the report states.
It adds: “The transmitted results appeared on the screen before the verification of the auditors. MEC considered that final results before auditors’ approval.”
The report said many of the rally sheets were rejected by the auditors “because of the missing signatures of the corresponding political parties.”
The BDO Jordan auditors’ report said MEC provided them with an official letter to approve all papers “if they contained the presiding officer’s signature only.”
BDO Jordan is a certified international auditors firm which was hired by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to assist in the validation of the tally sheets which were mostly Tipp-Exed’.
Signed by Hussain Alshobaki, the audit report says during the review of the transmitted results at the National Tally Centre, they noted that in terms of controlling and reconciling the transmitted results, “MEC was unable to specify what was verified by the auditors and what was not.”
The report recommends that the role of external auditors should be amended and expanded to cover processes at the constituency tally centres as well as the final approval issued at the main tally centre.
“The auditors should have enough time to arrange for hiring local auditors so as to include conducting first and second interviews as well as contacting references,” the report reads.
Commentators say the May election will go down in history as one of those electoral processes that were well managed only to be messed up at the very end.
An officer of Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC), Solomoni Phiri, said the report will cement their resolve to mobilise citizens for mass protests pushing for the resignations of Ansah.
Ansah is accused of presiding over a flawed electoral process .
“It is the constitutional right for all Malawians to express dissatisfaction. This audit report calls for more Jane Ansah must fall protests,” he said.
HRDC plans to mobilise demonstrators to participate in the five-day vigil at airports and country port of entry from August 26-30 in a bid to force Ansah and her commissioners to reign.
Malawi Law Society recently asked Ansah to “deeply reflect” on her holding on to MEC post when the country continue to be torn apart.
Ansah spoke once and said she would not resign as demanded by HRDC as that would be tantamount to pandering to the whims of a mob and that she too is waiting for the election case at the Constitution Court that UTM leader Saulos Chilima and MCP president Lazarus Chakwera have filed asking for the nullification of election results.
Commentator George Kasakula writing in his ‘Hitting the Nail’ column published in Malawi News, pointed out that Ansah must ask herself of it is worth it not to resign just because she thinks she is right and waiting for the court case.
“What will it take for her to resign? After all, she will still be Supreme Court justice. This arrogance is tearing the country apart. We all know she is a Supreme Court justice and well versed in arguing her case but her action in staying put at MEC is holding the country to ransom,” wrote Kasakula.
Kasakula, who is also Editor-In-Chief of the Times Media, said Ansah’s position at MEC is untenable “as none on the opposition side will participate in an election where she is chair of MEC as they have lost confidence in her.”Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :