Malawi rights commission sends fact finding mission over voter certificates

State funded rights body, the Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC) has sent a team of investigators to Mangochi to find out how 750 voter certificates meant for Lilongwe were dumped in Mangochi.

Nungu: MHRC is investigating the matter because this incident can affect stakeholders’ confidence.

MHRC executive director David Nungu described the matter as a human rights issue.

“We have sent the team there and their report will be out soon. We will make it public. The issue has eroded confidence in the electoral process,” said Nungu.

He said MHRC will make the parallel investigations to get to the bottom of the issue.

“MEC has the capacity to bring peace or squander the peace,” he said.

MEC blamed a temporary employee for the scandal saying he was printing excess voter certificates against the rules of the pollster.

The pollster also blamed the head teacher at a school where the certificates were discovered for reporting to a Malawi Congress Party district chairman and the party aspiring candidate on the issue instead of reporting to the district commissioner or MEC officials.

The two have since been removed as MEC officials.

The development follows the unresolved theft in September 2018 of one of MEC’s biometric voter registration kits (BVRK) which was found on a coal train in Mozambique.

Meanwhile, Malawi Electoral Support Network (Mesn) has urged MEC to tread carefully in handling the emerging issues as the development has the potential to raise questions over MEC’s credibility to deliver free, fair and credible elections in May this year.

Some of the country’s major political parties–Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), Malawi Congress Party (MCP) and UTM—have all expressed concern over the development describing it as “scary and unfortunate.”

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