Malawi poll results after 30 days: Mbendera says recount ballots starts

Malawi is only likely to have an official result of its chaotic May 20 election in a month as the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) Chair Maxon Mbendera announced on Monday it they will embark on a process to manually count the votes.

With 95 percent of the votes counted, Mbendera said at news conference that the Commission has halted the process of initial counting votes to allow for a recount of the votes where “serious irregularities” were noted, saying that it will take another 30 days for the current political circus to reach its conclusion.

Mbendera received an overwhelming support from Malawi Congress Party (MCP), People’s Party (PP) and United Democratic Front (UDF) cadres at the National Tally Centre in Blantyre while disgruntled Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) supporters booed him.

 Commissioner Chinkwita Phiri (left) and Mbendera:  Vote recount
Commissioner Chinkwita Phiri (left) and Mbendera: Vote recount

“It time we get united, I appeal to political parties to come together and use available mechanisms that would allow Malawians know the results of their choice. I wish to assure you that we will continue to provide adequate security to the process and we will be monitored,” said Mbendera, who is also High Court judge.

On Machinga North East constituency where it was reported votes surpassed those of registered voters, Mbendera explained that the total figure of 184 253 that voted were for the whole district and not just a constituency alone.

He said this was an error on part of recorders.

The MEC Char said during the recount, he appealed for all parties to send senior
officials than those it had used before.

On a truck found in Blantyre on Monday morning with ballots, Mbendera said the
commission will note any missing ballot papers and recorded and after recount it will make adjustments and release the results.

He said the remaining districts are Chitipa, Rumphi, Likoma, Balaka, Machinga, Zomba, Mwanza, Neno and Thyolo despite that 95 percent of the votes have been counted.

Amid reports of irregularities, the electoral commission, the country’s incumbent president Joyce Banda and opposition parties are embroiled in lawsuits and counter-suits over the count.

On the flurry of Court injunctions, Mbendera said they had affected on the Commission’s work.

Amid the electoral confusion there are fears of political violence and the United Nations and the European Union have called for calm.

The election imbroglio is unlikely to help Malawi’s dire economic problems.

This was the first time that Malawi held presidential, parliamentary and local elections on the same day.

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