Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) chairperson Jane Ansah and other senior officials will not step aside to allow a forensic audit of equipment and data in the electoral body’s custody as demanded by opposition parties bloc.
Among other senior officials the 10-party grouping wants suspended alongside Ansah are MEC chief elections officer Sam Alfandika and chairperson for electoral services committee Jean Mathanga.
But MEC in a statement made available to Nyasa Times dated Novemebr 7 2018, dismisses the demand by the grouping which comprises ADD, People’s Party (PP), People’s Progressive Movement (PPM), United Transformation Movement (UTM), Malawi Forum for Unity and Development (Mafunde), People’s Transformation Party (Petra), Alliance for Democracy (Aford), Malawi Democratic Party (MDP), Republican Party (RP) and the New Labour Party (NLP).
Alfandika said the missing kit belong to the National Registration Bureau (NRB) a contradiction from an earlier position where the electoral body claimed ownership of the gadgets.
“It is therefore, retrogressive to hear repeated calls from some quarters for the resignation or stepping aside of the commission’s chairperson and management on a matter that was thoroughly discussed and resolved at Necof (National Elections Consultative Forum),” said Alfandika in the statement.
Besides the suspension of MEC top brass, the opposition parties were seeking the technical and material support of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Department for International Development (DfID) and the European Union to carry out an independent forensic audit to be headed by a retired Supreme Court judge.
The opposition bloc’s chairperson, former vice-president and leader of the Assembly for Democracy and Development (ADD) Cassim Chilumpha, warned that “if nothing is done to address why and how the biometric voter registration kit [BVRK] equipment got stolen and part of it recovered in Mozambique, the elections next year will be a sham.”
Chilumpha said the integrity of MEC has been thrown in “serious doubt”.
He said:“ That is why we want to see the top MEC officials pave the way for independent investigations.”
The BVRK number 1962 is said to have been stolen in transit from Mzuzu in September and was recovered in Mozambique with some parts missing.