Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) chairperson Jane Ansah has vehemently rejected calls for her to stand down from her position at the pollster, saying she has done nothing criminal to warrant resignation.
Speaking on the sidelines of the ongoing National Electoral Consultative Forum (Necof) underway in Lilongwe, Ansah said the missing of the crucial biometric voter registration kit will not affect the voter registration process.
“I will only step down if I have committed a serious crime. Theft of things is beyond somebody’s control,” said Ansah.
Opposition leaders and other elections stakeholders are calling for her resignation following the missing of the kit which has since been found in Mozambique.
Ansah described as baseless allegations that the kit was deliberately transported to Mozambique by the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in order to register Mozambicans so that they should vote in the Malawi polls as part of systematic rigging.
The the embattled MEC chairperson explained that no data was lost when the gadget went missing, therefore, she said, there was no cause to worry and panic.
Ansah said MEC has a workforce of 278 staff and employed over 3000 more as temporary staff for the registration exercise, saying in this huge workforce, it was easier to lose some property.
But Peoples Party secretary general Ibrahim Matola said there was need for an independent forensic expert to look into the machine and see if indeed it was not tampered with.
“There are some questions which she is not answering clearly, why didn’t they report this matter to police? We are told they reported the issue to police after it was already found,” he said.
Matola said Ansah’sdefence on the matter is not convincing.
MEC ruled out the possibility of data in the biometric registration kit found in Mozambique being used to rig the 2019 elections, saying the information in the machine was for civic education and not voter registration.
But Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) insists Ansah must go for alleged negligence.
HRDC chairperson Timothy Mtambo said: “We cannot trust them at all. It is about trust. We cannot even trust them that they are saying the truth when they are saying it had no information.”
The rigging concerns come against a background of remarks by Vice-President Saulos Chilima during the launch of the United Transformation Movement (UTM) in Lilongwe in July that there was a ‘spy machine’ to be used for vote rigging.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :