Government has flatly refused to fund an independent auditor political parties and other stakeholders want to carry out forensic audit on the missing-but-found voter biometric kit.
Electoral stakeholders want independent investigators to carry out the operation after some components of the biometric registration kits went missing in Mwanza and Mzuzu.
The quasi-religious body Public Affairs Committee (PAC) said they would champion the exercise.
Newly appointed Minister of Information and Communication Technology, Henry Mussa said the government operates under guided budget line therefore it would be impossible to bring in unbudgeted line.
“PAC must have a budget line to take care of such contingencies. It can never be true that the government should just jump into and say we will fund it,” said Mussa who is the official government spokesman.
He said this after PAC officials and other electoral stakeholders who met in Blantyre agreed to find an independent auditor to carry out the exercise after the missing kit was found in Mozambique, raising fears that it might have been tampered for rigging purposes.
Fingers are pointing at the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) that it schemed the whole operation in a bid to rig the elections, an allegation denied by the party.
Mussa said PAC can easily contact donors who can fund such an exercise.
Former vice-president Cassim Chilumpha, a representative of the political parties, asked MEC to facilitate an independent forensic audit into all electoral equipment “in care and custody of MEC” for purposes of elections to ensure that the results are credible and non-partisan.
He said the missing-but-found registration kit and MEC’s “own contradictory statements” on the issue have ensured that instead of improving, the commission’s public image continues to get eroded.
“We believe that this is not in the national interest and that every effort needs to be made to reverse the situation,” he said.
Chilumpha said the purpose of the audit was to allay concerns the loss of the equipment has aroused in the minds of many Malawians.
Besides the audit, he said the parties also requested PAC to convene an all-inclusive stakeholders’ meeting to discuss and consider measures to ensure the elections’ preparatory process is peaceful and equitable to all parties.
PAC has also agreed to hold the conference where a report on the audit findings would be shared with the public.
Chilumpha, who is leader of the Assembly for Democracy and Development (ADD), disassociated the 11 political parties bloc present at the meeting from calls for the resignation of MEC chairperson and commissioners, saying they were not party to the demand.
The parties include UTM, ADD, People’s Party (PP), People’s Progressive Movement (PPM), Malawi Forum for Unity Development (Mafunde), Alliance For Development (Aford), Republican Party (RP), New Labour Party (NLP) and People’s Transformation Party (Petra).
MEC chairperson Jane Ansah said the missing equipment, which belonged to the National Registration Bureau (NRB) had no effect on the registration process and that there was no data loss.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :