Malawi Electoral Commission concedes poll laptop missing: PAC, CSOs want action

Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) has finally conceded that the pollster is missing a laptop computer used in the voter registration exercise.

Alufandika: The laptop is missing

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.

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Diggin Deeper
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Diggin Deeper

What has happened to Honourable Vice President Chilima promise or if he like threat to expose rigging by DPP? Is Chilima all words and no action? Just firing blanks? Truth is Chilima is ow tongue tied and has lost his ability to speak. He is silent. This proves that Chiluima cannot deliver. Talks about creating one million jobs, but Chilima cannot explain how he will do so. The man is a cheater and liar. All words no action. Malawians dare Chilima to expose the methods for rigging!!!! Stop being a coward. Or his in Darkness Democracy Dies right, you cannot… Read more »

concerned citizen
Guest
concerned citizen

Malawians , if we let this thing go as easily as MEC is trying to make it look like, I want to assure you that surely, our vote will be stolen. We should demand evidence based explanation. Lets have a neutral IT expert examine the recovered equipment to prove if what MEC officers are telling Malawians is true.

mediaz
Guest
mediaz

Kodi chibwenzi cholipobe ndi pumbwa?Ku mec kuli zitsiru zokhazokha zosafunila ana awo zambwino maso ali pa ndalama.Remember God is looking everywhere you’re.Your plans will never succced.

In Darkness Democracy Dies
Guest
In Darkness Democracy Dies

Honourable Vice President Saulos Chilima it is for you to expose how APM and DPP and MEC propose to rig the elections. You will recall that promised Malawians that you would expose rigging so please live up to your promise and expose DPP. Only you Sir and BB can to stop the rigging by telling the nation what you know. As both you and BB were both involved in rigging the last elections. You can become a poacher turned gamekeeper and the nation will owe you a debt of gratitude.

Gerald mapanga phiri
Guest
Gerald mapanga phiri

Apuphwa are given role to organise election. If you put useless people to run your system you get useless out. Now get the smell

Nandolo
Guest
Nandolo

Thats childish talk. Alufandika and MEC are not serious. They are incompetent and deserve to go. How can you talk like a child. Why report to Police if its petty theft. You guys in MEC are not helping and have proven to be people who are really not interested in the welfare of Malawi. So its ok for the things to be stolen. Malawians wake up. This can only happen in Malawi. For how long are we going to allow these incompetent people to continue sitting in that Office. All wat they are interested in is money for tgem and… Read more »

Bristone Mabichi
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Bristone Mabichi

Mr. Alufandika, your explanation does not add up. Every gadget within MECs work was deployed for a purpose. Do not tell us stories which do not give the mass hope. You MEC seem to be in a panic, why? There is something you would want done but has been foiled. Simply, you have failed, let others take over. The entire system needs overhauling. MEC MUST FALL period

Aka
Guest
Aka

This madness must stop! The madness to justify that there was no crucial information in it. That is rubbish assertion for the wise ears.
The last person to have used the laptop is not being mentioned WHY? The storekeeper for the warehouse/office where the laptop was being kept is not being mentioned WHY? Who were the watchmen or those keeping custody of such things? WHY WHY shield these culprits? Million questions go unanswered! No matter how much you will clean up, things will not just get cleared in the near soon

Make Malawi Great
Guest
Make Malawi Great

They downplaying everything…. any security breach is a sign that this MEC cant handle these elections! All equipment, data must be 110% secured for a free and fare credible! MEC come out with your errors and apologise tell the nation what you will do to insecure more tight security from now onwards and The Head should resign with integrity basi!!

Pension Nenereko
Guest
Pension Nenereko

Who are these MEC guys fooling?

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