Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) has finally conceded that the pollster is missing a laptop computer used in the voter registration exercise.
MEC chief executive officer Sam Alufandika said the laptop computer went missing in Mzuzu as voter registration clerks wanted to go for the final phase of the registration exercise.
“In fact, it is only the laptop which is missing. It has nothing. By the time it was stolen, it had no information, we had emptied everything because we wanted to use for the last phase of the registration exercise,” he said.
He said a crucial gadget used in the voter registration exercise along with the laptop computer was not stolen.
A police report based on information submitted to Mzuzu Police Station by MEC electoral services officer (logistics) Tyson Magalasi, shows that the equipment was part of the larger consignment transferred from Chitipa to Mzuzu on October 23 2018.
The report shows that the theft occurred between October 23 and October 24 at Katoto Secondary School hall in Mzuzu, which MEC is using as its warehouse.
Alufandika described the missing of the laptop computer as petty theft, saying it can be used just like any other laptop computers, saying there was no need for people to panic because all the data was secured before it got stolen.
“.It has missed in between retrieval and deployment. That laptop cannot work on its own. It cannot register anybody on its own,” he said.
He said police are now looking for it and urged people to stop making malicious allegations against MEC on the theft of elections equipment, saying only two so far were stolen and one was found.
The MEC boss said the malicious allegations have potential to put off voters from registering for the forthcoming elections.
Alufandika said issues surrounding the missing equipment and status of voter registration would be discussed at a National Elections Consultative Forum (Necof) meeting scheduled for Lilongwe on Wednesday that is also open to the media.
Revelations of the missing registration equipment accessories have drawn criticism of MEC, with the Public Affairs Committee (PAC) and Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) accusing the electoral body of failing to explain circumstances leading to the missing equipment and implications and added their voices to calls by Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) for MEC chairperson Jane Ansah to resign for alleged negligence.
“The fact that the machine was transported using a truck that belongs to the OPC [Office of the President and Cabinet] raises alarm. MEC should have explained that urgently after the loss because people already are very skeptical about whether elections will be free and fair next year, saud PAC publicity secretary the Reverend Father Peter Mulomole
CCJP national coordinator Boniface Chibwana blamed MEC for not being proactive to report about the missing equipment to police and electoral stakeholders ,considering that electoral issues are emotive.
MEC has ruled out the possibility of data in the biometric registration kit found in Mozambique being used to rig the 2019 elections, saying the information in the machine was for civic education and not voter registration.
The rigging concerns come against a background of remarks by Vice-President Saulos Chilima during the launch of the United Transformation Movement (UTM) in Lilongwe in July that there was a ‘spy machine’ to be used for vote rigging.
In the current situation, the public opinon is much against MEC leadership and Malawians have lost trust that the commission would deliver a credible elections.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :