Malawi Defence Force (MDF) is giving tight security to ballot papers to be used for Tuesday in a hotly contested fresh presidential election being held almost five months after the Constitutional Court annulled the results of a disputed vote last year.
MDFs director of military operations and training, Brigadier General Blaise Saenda, briefing stakeholders on security protocols during transportation of ballot papers, urged people not to follow vehicles carrying ballot papers.
He asked motorists to maintain a distance of at least one kilometre between them and the vehicles carrying ballot papers.
“Motorists should maintain a distance of at least one kilometre between them and vehicles carrying ballot papers,” Saenda said.
He stressed that following such vehicles would mean risking one’s life.
“ Following the vehicles can lead to loss of lives if one is not careful,” Saenda said.
Tonse Alliance representative Howard Kachipanda, upon witnessing the arrival of the ballot papers, said he was satisfied with the way Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) is handling the ballots.
“We have faith in the new Mec chairperson and it is our wish that this time around, all is going to be done according to plans. We will be following each and every step up to the polling day,” he said.
On his part, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and United Democratic Front (UDF) alliance representative Clement Stambuli said the ballots are under the care of the electoral body comprising Commissioners from different political parties and was upbeat its crop will safeguard their party’s interests.
“We have faith that MEC will conduct a credible election,” Stambuli said.
A presidential candidate must now secure an absolute majority of 50 percent plus one to be declared the winner of the race. Since Malawi’s return to multiparty competition in 1994, the election had been determined by the first-past-the-post system in which the contender with most votes is declared the winner regardless of whether they receive an outright majority.
According to the electoral commission, some 6.8 million Malawians are eligible to cast ballots at more than 5,000 polling stations across the landlocked country of 17.5 million people.
Three candidates are in the running for the country’s top job but only two – President Peter Mutharika of DPP-UDF alliance and Lazarus Chakwera of Tonse Allaince [ on MCP ticket] stand a chance of winning the poll.
Peter Kuwani, of the Mbakuwani Movement for Development (MMD), is the other candidate on the voting register.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :