MCP fear Electoral Commission playing tricks to rig Malawi 2014 polls

The main opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) has expressed fears that the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) is purposely frustrating the voter registration exercise in the central region, which is its stronghold, saying the development is tantamount to rigging.

MCP has since demanded the electoral body to urgently rectify the anomalies.

Among others, MCP claims MEC deliberately sent to the region faulty equipment and also deployed few and incompetent workers in the centers thereby denying many people an opportunity to register.

But MEC has trashed MCP assertions arguing equipment can sometimes develop faults.

Kabwila: Voters are stematically disenfranchised by being turned away from registering
Kabwila: Voters are stematically disenfranchised by being turned away from registering

MCP Publicity Secretary, Dr. Jessie Kabwila, told reporters at the party’s headquarters in Lilongwe, they had noted with great concern the flaws in most parts of central region which they fear could create a loophole for rigging.

“We have noted with great concern the numerous and consistent voter registration anomalies and flaws that have characterised phase six of voter registration. The faulty and unreliable equipment that has been deployed to Lilongwe City constituencies and most parts of Central Region is an area of concern.

“We fear that the anomalies can create a loophole for rigging. We are, therefore, demanding immediate replacement of faulty equipment in the centres,” said Kabwila.

Among others, phase six is covering areas in Dedza, Dowa, Lilongwe City and Mchinji.

She said due to the faulty equipment many people, especially women, were failing to register, thereby denying them a chance to register and vote during next year’s tripartite elections.

The MCP publicist also criticized MEC for delaying the release of results of the fifth phase of the registration process alleged the development was raising fears of possible bloating of numbers of registered voters in the phase.

Meanwhile, MEC has finally released the results for phase five in which 881,800 voters registered against 756,372 who were registered in 2010, in the same areas representing a 16.58 percent increase.

The party also alleged that some voter registration books for Mangochi District are found in Lilongwe and Dowa with unknown people also being ferried in trucks to register in areas such as Lumbadzi in Dowa.

But MEC Director of Media and Public Relations, Sangwani Mwafulirwa, defended the electoral body saying it did not deliberately deploy faulty equipment to some centres in the region hinting that registration equipment sometimes develops faults.

He also said the commission was not cooking up any figures in the registration exercise as it was not possible to do so.

On allegations that some registration papers for Mangochi were found in Lilongwe and Dowa, Mwafulirwa explained that there were no registration papers for specific districts.

“What happens is that when the people conducting the registration have only used 10 out of 100 leaflets in a particular booklet at one centre, the other 90 leaflets are used when the team moves to another area.

“In this case, the people who are conducting the registration exercise in Lilongwe and Dowa are coming from Mangochi where they were registering voters in phase five,” explained Mwafulirwa.

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