Synod of Livingstonia of the Church of Central Africa Presbyterian (CCAP) and Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC) have asked Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) to resolve all electoral disputes in the May 21tripartite before releasing official election results.
President Peter Mutharika of ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is facing stiff competition from main opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) of Lazarus Chakwera who went to High Court on Saturday to obtain an order for MEC not to release results of the presidential vote until a judicial review of the complaints had been heard and results from 10 districts were verified
In a statement made available to Nyasa Times, the synod’s moderator Reverend Douglas Chipofya and the synod’s general secretary Reverend Levi Nyondo said through its Church and Society Programme (CSP), along with other civil society stakeholders, deployed a number of election observers (accredited by MEC) and observed there were irregularities.
“As with other observers we witnessed both positive and negative aspects to the election process. We will issue a full report in due course,” reads the statement in part.
“We witnessed that the voting process was peaceful and by-and-large citizens were able to vote freely and without interference. However, we are concerned with irregularities in the counting process and reports of tampered ballots. These issues give us grave concerns and we welcome steps taken by MEC investigators and lawyers, the police and the courts to resolve them,” it added.
In the meantime, the Synod call on MEC to delay announcing results until the issues are fully resolved.
”To give further interim and unverified results would only fuel future discord,” the church advised.
“We continue to pray for a peaceful and fair resolution. As such we appeal to all political parties, candidates, stakeholders and the citizens at large to be patient and to refrain from spreading rumours and unverified results. Such things are the root of unrest which leads to violence and these things should have no place in our country,” the statement reads.
MHRC executive secretary David Nungu has also observed that despite that the voting process was well managed, inclusive, peaceful and transparent; the management of the results has been chaotic as it has been marred by several irregularities.
Said Nungu: “The Commission therefore makes the following recommendations: 1. MEC should clean up the electoral results before declaring them officially. 2. MEC should deal with any single electoral complainant and investigate each one of them with responsibility and seriousness before releasing official results.
“3. All political parties and candidates should become responsible and exercise responsibility as they wait for MEC to finalise all the processes that will lead to the announcement of official results.”
Nungu said MHRC has noted the assurances by MEC to address all electoral irregularities before announcing results and it will monitor such assurance.
The MEC has confirmed receiving 147 cases of irregularities, most to do with the use of results sheets which had sections blotted out and altered with correction fluid – Tippex.
Protests broke out in Malawi’s administrative capital Lilongwe on Saturday by MCP supporters, prompting police to deploy armored trucks to the area where people were tearing down ruling DPP posters and hurling rocks at government buildings.
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