There is tension building up in the shore district of Karonga following a fracas that occurred Saturday night in which deployed Malawi Defence Force (MDF) soldiers almost opened fire at some civilians and some men donning Malawi police uniform who claimed wanted to verify the authenticity of ballot papers that had just arrived.
Nyasa Times has learnt that the incident, which occurred in Karonga Nyungwe Constituency, raised a lot suspicion on the part of the soldiers who had sensed foul play.
“There were civilians and some people donning Malawi police uniform who came to where the ballot papers were being kept for safety and asked the soldiers that they verify the ballots.
“But when the soldiers got suspicious with the group, the did not allow them to do. The latter could not comply, a development which brought about some turbulence that nearly forced the soldiers to open fire,” said Jordan Simeon-Phiri, Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) stringer in Karonga.
According to Phiri, the situation is still tensed up as the citizenry is “not yet certain” whether the men that donned police uniform were bonafide members of the Malawi Police Service (MPS) or not.
The development comes days following rumors that the governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) was working on a plot to have its cadets act as security personnel during polling day while donning police uniform.
MPS, through its national spokesperson, James Kadadzera, released a statement quashing the rumors as “false.”
On Sunday, UTM Party presidential torchbearer, Saulos Chilima, also made allegations that he was aware of the presence of one Augustine Chihuri—Zimbabwe for Commissioner General of Police—who was in the country, hired by the DPP, to deploy the party’s cadets who would work as MPS “impersonators” on Polling Day.
Chilima demanded that Chihuri must “must leave this country immediately.”
Meanwhile, there is also more tension in Karonga over a satellite polling centre at Karonga Prison where no voter is said to have registered.
“There is no one who registered there. There is no presiding officer. Who is going to vote there? There is another polling centre at the old Karonga Hospital which is just 20 metres away. There is something fishy going on,” said Andrew Mwakaseghe.
But Nyasa Times has learnt that ballot papers have been dispatched to the ghost centre.
Pollster MEC chairperson, Jane Ansah, is expected to hold a presser Sunday afternoon over some of the on-going electoral developments.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :