Former President Joyce Banda says President Peter Mutharika should explain to Malawians what transpired during the May 2014 elections that ushered him to power following claims by Christopher Ligomeka that he was among a team of IT experts that implemented an electronic election rigging scheme in favour of Mutharika and his DPP.
Banda, who lost the presidency to Mutharika, when Malawi held presidential, parliamentary and local elections on the same day on May 30, 2014 said in a statement that President Mutharika should comment on Ligomeka claims.
Ligomeka alleged that the ‘rigging centre’ was right at the house of President Mutharika in Area 10, Lilongwe.
During the elections, Banda accused a party, which she did not name, of infiltrating and hacking the electronic system, which transmits the results to the headquarters of MEC.
With Ligomeka claims, Banda feels vindicated about her fears of fraud and corruption that dented the May 20 Tripartite Elections results.
“The issues that Mr. Ligomeka has raised are very serious, which cannot just be wished away. Malawians deserve to know what really happened,” Banda said in the statement.
“Malawians deserve to know the truth about the two issues above to fully understand why President Mutharika and his DPP government are under so much paranoia and panic,” she charged.
Banda said many people had suspected that Ligomeka was involved in some rigging scheme during the election.
“He himself had met several people and confided in them what had been going on in the course of the elections to manipulate the final results. Details about the alleged rigging scheme are awash in the media, including copies of emails exchanged for that purpose,” said Banda, the first serving female African head of state to have lost an election.
“It is because of these allegations and the fact that MEC had admitted that there were suspected fraudulent cases within the course of the elections that I made a statement we needed either a re-run or a recount of the votes. In the case of a re-run, I said I would not contest as a presidential candidate to demonstrate that my decision was not based on greed.
“The issues that Mr. Ligomeka has raised are very serious, which cannot just be wished away. Malawians deserve to know what really happened,” she said.
Before being declared winner of the 2014 elections, Mutharika denied the DPP was involved in rigging.
“I don’t see how an opposition party can rig elections,” he said.
He said the army and police had been sent to his house to “intimidate” him.
A democratic governance expert pleaded with MEC and the nation at large to investigate to its logical conclusions of allegations of electoral fraud.
Kizito Tenthani—who is Centre for Multiparty Democracy (CMD) executive director—is on record saying what he saw during the tallying of the election results should move authorities to make a follow-up and establish what really happened.
“I am at pains to believe that some of the mistakes that I saw are natural or innocent errors,” he said, adding that MEC chairperson Maxon Mbendera even admitted that some of the records that were received from the field “left a lot to be desired.”
An analysis of Malawi Congress Party (MCP) and People’s Party (PP) DF dossiers of electoral complaints shows that returning officers—who were mostly head teachers—were either grossly inefficient or heavily compromised.
Glaring arithmetical errors and outright disregard of MEC guidelines, among other lapses, by returning officers, display a mess that gives strong credence to claims that the legitimacy of the electoral outcome may have been flawed.
In some cases, there were tallies such as 30+40=800, which were blatantly inaccurate.
Tenthani, however, said whether the irregularities amounted to rigging depends on where one is standing on the matter.
Apart from the changing of figures from polling stations and those printed at MEC main tally centre, other challenges included discrepancies between the station’s totals for candidates and the votes cast, discrepancies arising from intentional or unintentional arithmetical errors between number of votes per streams and station totals of the votes for specific candidates; polling station results sheets that do not bear MEC logo, or barcode, or polling station codes and names.
Some polling station results sheets did not bear names or signatures of the presiding officers whereas some polling station results sheets were not signed by political party monitors.
In some cases, the name and signature of the same presiding officer appeared on several polling stations’ results sheets originating from different locations while some results sheets bore figures that had been altered or tippexed out and in some cases results were altogether illegible.
Banda was Head of State between April 2012 and May 2014 after ascending to the presidency in line with constitutional order after the death of president Bingu wa Mutharika on April 5 2012.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :