Malawi Congress Party (MCP) has withdrawn its earlier stance that Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) should hasten in announcing presidential results in Tuesday’s elections and has, instead, thanked the pollster “for its decision to delay the release of results.”
On Wednesday, MCP president Lazarus Chakwera had in an emotional and authoritative press briefing at his Namiwawa residence in Blantyre asked MEC to quicken the announcement after 35 percent of the processed results put him first with Peter Mutharika (DPP) and outgoing vice president, Saulos Chilima, of UTM Party, trailing a distant third.
But in a statement on Friday, the former main opposition changed tone saying they wanted MEC to rectify the “serious irregularities” and “electoral crimes” that they brought to its attention.
During Chakwera’s Friday address he had hinted that he was aware of some people who wanted to “subvert the will of Malawians.”
Among others, Chakwera blamed MEC’s own Presiding Officers were refusing to give MCP monitors copies of result sheets they signed and that Constituency Returning Officers (CRO) were taking personal possession of the result sheets and doctoring them with alterations before transmission.
The statement, however, says it sent its team on a fact-finding mission to the Lower Shire where the mishaps occurred to verify.
“Some officials of Malawi Congress Party travelled to Nsanje on Thursday morning to ascertain the facts of the case. It was these party officials who identified the culprit and reported his suspicious conduct to the police, who then mounted a chase and a search and found him in possession of result sheets for several polling centers,” reads the statement in part.
It adds: “In the evening that same day, literally two hours before MEC’s scheduled announcement of official results, we as a party lodged a formal complaint to MEC to investigate the nature and extent of these electoral crimes. We further asked MEC to refrain from releasing any further results until these cases are resolved.”
According to MCP, they did that cognizant of the “seriousness and all implications” of the crimes.
“We are therefore expectant that MEC will do everything to regain the public trust its compromised officers have cost it, not only by tabulating its results using only the original result sheets that have neither alterations nor erasures; but also by giving party monitors access to those documents for verification,” reads the statement.