DPP agrees to vote recount: MEC probes ghost voters in Malawi polls

The opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) – whose leader Prof. Peter Mutharika has a slight lead in unofficial exit polls – on Sunday evening agreed to a ballot recount in some areas after a heated meeting between the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) and political parties who took part in last week’s tripartite elections.
DPP which has earlier sought a court order stopping MEC from recounting the votes agreed to vary its injunction and allow the recount in areas where figures of those who actually voted were not tallying with those on the voters’ roll. In one constituency only 38,000 voters registered but over 184,000 actually voted.

“We will recount the votes in 42 stations where there were anomalies,” said Commissioner Rev. Emmanuel Chimkwita Phiri. “We will investigate who was behind this and the law will punish them.”

Malawi's electoral authorities said they would reopen ballot boxes after finding evidence of irregularities
Malawi’s electoral authorities said they would reopen ballot boxes after finding evidence of irregularities

“We will investigate where these ghost voters came from,” said Chimkwita.

In an interesting turn of events, President Joyce Banda Saturday nullified the entire process and called for fresh elections in 90 days. She promised not to take part in those elections.

The recount could start this week after an implementation plan was thrashed out on Sunday with political parties.

On Saturday, Malawi’s President Joyce Banda declared the election “null and void”, claiming there were “serious irregularities” with the poll.

She issued a decree that vote counting should stop and called for fresh elections in 90 days.
But just hours after her announcement, Malawi’s high court issued an injunction preventing the president from annulling the poll.

A heavy police presence continued on Sunday in the commercial capital of Blantyre, with scores of riot police on alert at the tally centre.

The country’s electoral commission said it had counted 62 percent of the votes from half of the 4,445 polling centres spread throughout Malawi.

Ken Msonda, spokesman for Banda’s People’s Party, said their party has been “vindicated” saying, “Malawians will definitely know the truth now. we are still in the game after the recount.”

But Nicholas Dausi, a spokesman of Mutharika’s Democratic Progressive Party, said “There is no security and safety of the ballot boxes.”

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