DPP, UDF wary over suspension of voters roll inspection

Two of the country’s main opposition parties, United Democratic Front (UDF) and Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) have expressed concern over suspension of Voters Roll inspection exercise by the Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec).

Mec on Tuesday suspended inspection exercise a day after it was inaugurated due to logistical challenges and inadequacies in the preliminary voters’ roll.

In separate interviews with Nyasa Times the two political parties were concerned the delay in Voters Roll inspection will affect the electoral calendar.

Nankhumwa:  We suspect rigginggate
Nankhumwa: We suspect rigginggate

“It’s unfortunate that Mec decided to suspend the inspection. It’s our sincere hope that the decision will not be permanent because otherwise we are slowly losing trust and confidence in Malawi Electoral Commission,” said DPP Director of Elections, Kondwani Nankhumwa.

Nankhumwa said the Electoral body should use the suspension period to work out on some of anomalies noted in the Voters Roll like missing names, some names appearing in Arabic, mixed up identities among others.

UDF Secretary General, Kandie Padambo warned Mec of “backlash” from political parties, registered voters and international community if the inspection exercise is suspended permanently.

“There are so many errors noted in the Voters Roll. And we feel the suspension might have been done to allow Mec correct such irregularities. It’s sad that the delay will affect the electoral calendar, but we hope the exercise will resume soon,” said Padambo.

On Monday, Mec started inspection of Voters Roll but logistical challenges forced the Commission to delay the opening of some centres in seven districts of Ntcheu, Mzimba, Mzuzu City, Nkhata Bay, Salima, Kasungu and Dedza.

Mec Chief Elections Officer, Willie Kalonga revealed they were experiencing challenges in cashing cheques issued by the Accountant General because the Reserve Bank had delayed in clearing them.

Kalonga also blamed the Office of President and Cabinet (OPC) and the district councils for failing to mobilize enough vehicles for the deployment of staff which created transport problems.

The suspension of Voters Roll comes at the time government through Treasury revealed it has no money to fund Ministries and departments who are operating on inadequate allocations and, the donor community has withheld aid to Malawi, which one of the poorest countries in Africa.

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