DPP suspects rigging of Malawi’s 2014 elections

Opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has called on the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) to investigate thoroughly the alleged illegal production and selling of the registration voter cards reported in Mzuzu saying the party fear that this could be a systematic move aimed at rigging next year’s elections.

Reacting to The Nation newspaper story on Friday that revealed that fake voters cards are being sold at K1,500 each, DPP spokesperson Nicholas Dausi described the development as extremely dangerous and that it should not be taken lightly by all stakeholders to ensure that next year’s elections are credible, fair and free and that the results
are acceptable.

“This is the first time that a voter card has been sold and that could be the start of the rigging process because it means that those with money can buy as many cards as possible and have voters who are not eligible to participate in the elections,” said Dausi.

He called on MEC to treat the registration voter card as a vote itself which needs utmost security.

Dausi: Suspect rigging tactics
Dausi: Suspect rigging tactics

“Our fear is that during the actual voting will the officers be able to tell which one is a genuine voter card and which one is not. MEC should investigate this and come out in the open to tell the nation how it is possible that people should be able to print these cards and who is doing it,” added Dausi.

The newspaper report disclosed that following the syndicate on June 30, 2013 police in Mzuzu arrested two men in connection with the illegal voter card production which uses the same laminating porches as MEC’s.

One of the arrested Moses Nyati is said to have offered to help Mwayi Chumbi to have a voter registration card that would enable her to obtain a passport from the Immigration Department.

In a statement signed by Dausi himself and DPP Director of Elections Kondwani Nankhumwa the DPP expressed concerns on how the case is being handled after it transpired that MEC has thrice failed to attend court proceedings a development that forced the case to be adjourned several times.

The statement says that the DPP as one of the stakeholders is suspicious with such developments.

“We fail to understand why this is happening especially this time around when the voter registration has just begun. We are worried that such tendencies would not result in a free, fair and credible election in 2014,” reads the statement.

Among several demands the DPP has MEC to work towards tightening security on the voter cards; that the diplomatic community and the country development partners should condemn such acts publicly; and
that the civil society should not remain quite but rise and strongly condemn the behaviour.

Counterfeit voter ID sold in Mzuzu
Counterfeit voter ID sold in Mzuzu

MEC’s director of media and public relations Sangwani Mwafulirwa has assured that although the fake voter cards looks like original ones they have wrong serial numbers and cannot be used to beat electoral safeguards.

“The Commission will conduct fresh registration for 2014 which means new voter IDs will be issued. The new cards are different in design and colour from the old ones and they are coming with improved security features. There is no way a person holding a fake ID can vote,” he said.

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