Mbendera says no vote recount in Malawi presidential race

Malawi Election Commission’s (MEC) chairperson Justice Maxon Mbendera has dismissed President Joyce Banda’s call for a vote recount in the presidential race.

Banda, who took over after Bingu wa Mutharika’s death in office two years ago, disputed the interim results and said the count had been compromised.

But Justice Mbendera said the president’s allegations were untrue and claimed her People’s Party (PP) was acting out of desperation.

Justice Mbendera : No hacking
Justice Mbendera : No hacking

The only result released so far – a partial tally put out by the private Zodiak radio station – gave opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) leader Peter Mutharika, the brother of late President Bingu wa Mutharika, a narrow lead followed closely by Malawi Congress Party (MCP) president Lazarous Chakwera.

Banda’s PP also claimed MEC digital election management platform has been hacked.

“We have reason to believe that the Malawi Electoral Commission digital election management platform has been hacked by some suspected DPP operatives,” president’s spokesman Wakuda Kamanga said in a statement.

But MEC chairperson said the system had not been hacked, but was rendered useless after it developed technical glitches that was slowing the processing of the results.

“We have switched to manual and we will start announcing the results after we have received 30% of the results,” he said.

Mbendera explained that the television and radio station that MEC engaged as official broadcasters are announcing unofficial results, saying “the results that have been pasted on the walls of buildings where they are reporting from. The PP will have to demonstrate how someone would hack into and manipulate results that are on the wall. It does not make sense to me.”

Meanwhile, EU monitors said the electoral process had “considerable organisational shortcomings and a few isolated incidents of unrest”.

Véronique De Keyser, chief observer of the EU election observation mission, said lack of essential materials resulted in delays in the opening of polling stations amid a challenging environment.

The country, with 28 districts, had 4,445 polling centres where about 7 million people cast their votes.

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