Lilongwe MEC warehouse gutted: Votes for recount destroyed

The Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) warehouse in Lilongwe,  where disputed votes for for Lilongwe City South East Constituency ballots  were expected to be recounted  has been destroyed by a large fire set on by unknown arsonists.

The fire started soon after unknown vehicle that drove into the vicinity, Area 4 and a suspected petrol bomb was thrown into the warehouse.

An investigation is under way into the cause of the blaze.

MEC Public Relations Officer Sangwani Mwafulira has confirmed the incident.

“We are investigating the matter with relevant stakeholders ,” he said.

Part of the destroyed warehouse
Part of the destroyed warehouse

Last week the disputed winner, Bently Namasasu of ruling Democratic Progressive (DPP), obtained an injunction from High Court stopping the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) from proceeding with the scheduled recounting of ballot papers

The High Court in Lilongwe ordered the recount at three centres; namely, Chilinde School, City Council office and Mlodza F.P. School following a challenge from Malawi Congress Party (MCP) candidate Ulemu Msungama who queried the disproportionate number of null and void votes and shortage of 100 ballot papers which were unaccounted for.

High Court Judge Lloyd Muhara granted Namasasu the stay order to stop recount after his lawyer, Chauncy Gondwe, argued that he should have been a party to the case.

Msungama through his lawyer Emmanuel Tchapo made an application to the High Court to vacate the stay order, arguing that Section 100 of the Presidential and Parliamentary Elections Act did not provide for consultations or adding other candidates to an electoral case.

MEC declared Namasasu winner of the parliamentary poll in Lilongwe City South East Constituency with 10 956 against Msungama’s 10 854, a difference of 98 votes.

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