Malawi Law Society says MEC cannot investigate itself on elections lost kits

Malawi Law Society (MLS) has backed calls by the electoral stakeholders to engage independent investigators to assess components of a biometric voter registration kit that went missing in Mwanza and Mzuzu, saying the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) whose credibility is seriously damaged, cannot investigate itself.

Ansah: Credibility of running Malawi 2019 elections seriously damaged

During a highly-charged National Elections Consultative Forum (Necof) meeting in Lilongwe last week, MEC officials were taken to task to explain circumstance that led to the missing of the gadget found on a train in Mozambique and a laptop computer as well as other accessories reported missing in Mzuzu.

MEC chairperson Jane Ansah, a Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal judge, failed to convince stakeholder that the missing of equipment has no effect on the registration process and that there is no data lost and some of the delegates demanded her resignation

President of the law society, Alfred Majamanda has since backed call for an independent investigation to assess if the data was not tampered with.

“It is a cardinal principle of law that you cannot be a judge in your own case,” said Majamanda.

He said independent investigations should be carried to ascertain the truth in what MEC is claiming.

But Ansah during Necof meeting rejected a proposal for independent investigations as not necessary because data in the two kits was safe.

“I do not think there is any reason why we should demand for an independent forensic audit. Our main concern on the matter is data. And we have reported that data in the two kits is not tampered with,” she said.

However, Law Society president said demand for serious investigation in the matter is “vital.”

Majamanda also said MEC should name individuals involved in the missing of the equipment and they should face disciplinary measures.

Malawi Electoral Support Network (Mesn) chairperson Steve Duwa also stressed the need to have independent investigators on the matter.

Information and Communications Technology Association of Malawi (Ictam) tipped off MEC to facilitate an independent audit of the recovered equipment to ascertain if it was not tampered with.

Ictam president Wisely Phiri told the local press that it was not complicated to undertake an audit trail of data on the machine that was compromised.

Commenting on the issue, social and political commentator Emily Mkamanga  said Malawians are not pleased at all and this is why they have been calling for the resignation of MEC chair Ansah and some of her staff members.

“ The gravity of the missing machines can be devastating as it alludes to the fact that it was deliberately done by MEC to rig the votes.MEC must be mindful that any mistakes it makes in managing elections will confirm the general belief that in Malawi and other African countries, voters do not matter. but those who count votes, in this case MEC,” stated Mkamaga in a newspaper column.

“So far, the behaviour of MEC seems to indicate that they already know the election results, therefore, they do not care whether or not they might be looking at voters as troublemakers instead of taking them as the main stakeholders in the elections.

“MEC should know better that the 2019 elections are a future for Malawians, therefore, it must not in any way stifle the process.  Instead, it must aim at running a credible election as a respect for the people of Malawi,” she added.

Political parties are demanding that Ansah should resign for not reporting the incidents to stakeholders, including United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) which is offering technical support to the electoral process.

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Kanyimbi
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Kanyimbi

MEC TEAM iyi pajatu inasankhidwa ndi APM ndi ana a Dad atipweteka akupanga chili chonse kuti a Dad awine amangwetu ma stakeholder Tuesday meeting chotsa petrol chotsa plz plz achoke musankhe awiri awiri kuchokera ku zipani zonse ayendetse kwasalaku koma petrol uyu chotsani mtheradi.

Gertrude
Guest
Gertrude

Jane Ansah just a quick reminder digital/electronic footprints or information is never deleted it can always be pulled so don’t fool yourself

Tozer Tsono
Guest
Tozer Tsono

Audit not just the lost and now found equipment but all other equipment plus the Server they connect with to verify if malware is or not loaded already to deploy during the election and skew the results in favor of one political party DPP or UTM or MCP. Ansah does not get it; data not being compromised on laptops or server now does not mean it won’t. Viruses can deploy at a specified time. Secondly, Ansah is not incharge of MEC: Malawians are. She should recuse herself on this issue or resign or taken to court to be forced to… Read more »

Nandolo
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Nandolo

Mai Ansah zisiyeni pitani ku UK mukasamale Abusa. Bishop akula afunika inu mai kuwasamala. Banja amatero?

#DzukaniAmalawi
Guest
#DzukaniAmalawi

Is this the quality of judges (Supreme court of Appeal) we have in Malawi, who don’t even understand the issue at play. The argument isn’t that the data was tampered with but rather the circumstances under which the gadget and laptop went missing given that these are national security assets. The issue of tampering with the data is secondary. At this point Malawians are asking the question whether we have competent people at MEC to secure these national security assets. Secondly, there is a high possibility that the voter roll has been compromised via the missing machine as the software… Read more »

Ambuje Kukaya
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Ambuje Kukaya

A thorough independent audit is necessary. At the moment, we only know of these two gadgets, and it won’t be surprising to hear of other missing items at MEC. Just watch

Central
Guest
Central

Jane Ansah knows that allowing independent experts will expose all the secrets just as it happened with “Willie Kalonga the former chief elections officer”. Willie behaved just like this, but after the investigations by independent experts he was squeezed into a tight corner, and today where is he? This woman is too pompous and strongly believes she is more wise than anybody else………………………!! Mukunama payi, pano mwatchela kumwezi, nkhanga zaonaaaaaaaaaaaa! Mrs Ansah why did you load the equipment including the lost but found one, into a vehicle from the Office of the President and Cabinet? Who were you working with… Read more »

dausi
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dausi

we are tired to be ruled by the same party for 10 years pa mavoti obera, make sure mistake never repeated again

frankoo
Guest
frankoo

that woman must be kicked out of that office how can she claim that mec kit had nothing that can be tempered yet somebody managed to take it to Mozambique all this distance and then found for normal use , we are being used now its seems as this country is for some individuals who can not be asked or benefiting at the expense of others , please all stakeholders take action mayi uyu should be out

Izeck
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Izeck

na awa amayi awa mkulu wa MEC uyo anadya kale zake ndee pano afuna atinamizepo apa hasaaaaa.!!!!!! timve ziti kodi amalawi…? They is no truth currently., and we dont have trust in her authorities., she better leave in peace.

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