Malawi elections outcome was fraudulent, newspaper analysis confirms

Malawi’s leading media house, Nation Publication Limited (NP) through its title, Nation on Sunday indicated that its nationwide analysis of opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP), People’s Party (PP) and UDF dossiers of electoral complaints indicate the outcome of the May 20 elections was based on fraudulent results.

The paper said in its report that its analysis shows that returning officers—who were mostly head teachers—were either grossly inefficient or heavily compromised.

“Glaring arithmetical errors and outright disregard of Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) guidelines, among other lapses, by returning officers, display a mess that gives strong credence to claims by MCP, UDF, PP and other stakeholders that the legitimacy of the electoral outcome maybe flawed,” reads the report in the paper.

Tenthani: Investigate
Tenthani: Investigate

In some cases, one could find tallies such as 30+40=800, which were blatantly inaccurate, the paper reported.

The weekly said the lapses and discrepancies in the result sheets from most districts had “arithmetical errors that were being corrected at the centres without the authorisation of party monitors who signed the original result sheets.”

The dossier, according to the publication, also shows that MEC data entry clerks at the National Tally Centre in Blantyre may also have been complacent, if not complicit, if their computation errors are anything to go by.

“Examples include results from Mzimba South West Constituency where President Peter Mutharika had scored 7 329 votes, yet the tally sheet results after data entry at the main tally centre in Blantyre indicated that Mutharika scored 7 669, which was 340 votes more than the original sheet,” reads the report.

In Nkhotakota North Constituency, main presidential candidates had their results revised down wards at the MEC main tally centre, the paper said in its analysis.

On the polling centre tally sheet in Nkhotakota, Mutharika received 11 788 votes, but the main tally centre sheet indicated 1 1618, losing 170 votes. Chakwera received 5 514 votes at the polling centre, which was changed to 5 446, losing 68 votes while President Joyce Banda received 7 297, but at the MEC tally centre the number was reduced by 380 votes at 6 917.

“The change of figures by data entry clerks [at MEC main tally centre] was sudden. Original tally sheets from the constituency differs to what was produced through MEC print outs,” Nation on Sunday quotes one inquiry form.

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.

In the report, the paper quotes Kizito Tenthani—who is Centre for Multiparty Democracy (CMD) executive director—saying allegations of fraud and corruption that dented the May 20 Tripartite Elections results should be invertigated to its logical conclusion.

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