Embattled Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) commissioners have bowed down to demands by poll stakeholders who want to hire independent forensic experts to look into the missing biometric voter registration kit.
MEC chairperson Jane Ansah told the high profile National Electoral Consultative Forum on Wednesday in Lilongwe that the team of the IT experts would be allowed to get into the Biometric Registration Kit to find out whether data was tampered with or not.
“Our main concern on the matter is data. And we have reported that data is the two kits is not tampered with,” said Ansah.
This has saved Ansah and the commissioners, as of now, from the harsh calls of resignation from their positions.
Main opposition, Malawi Congress Party (MCP) deputy secretary general Catherane Gotani Hara said the party was still suspicious with MEC on the way it has handled the whole issue of the missing poll gadget which has since been recovered from Mozambique.
“We want an independent team of IT auditors to verify whether indeed the data was tampered with,” she said.
People’s Party (PP) secretary general Ibrahim Matola said MEC were taking the issue lightly and maintained Ansah must step down for not reporting thebincidents to stakeholders, including United Ntaions Decelopment Programme (UNDP) which is offering technical support to the electoral process.
“You should have involved us when this happened. As stakeholders, we wnat you to resign immediately,” Matola said in a highly charged meeting.
Malawi Electoral Support Network (Mesn) chairman Steve Duwa said election stakeholders have lost trust in MEC, therefore there was indeed need to hire the independent IT experts to look into the gadgets.
The conference also attracted many donors from United Nations, African Union and various envoys from different countries.
AU representative Dr Gusto Ngomo said MEC should work on gaining the lost trust and confidence.
“They should do all they can to rebuild the lost trust and confidence quickly. The issue here is not about the missing kit, it is about lost trust and confidence,” said Ngomo.
Ansah said the doors at MEC are open for the independent forensic experts.
“They can come and investigate. When they come, they will have access to the kit or any other gadget they want to examine,” she said.
The opposition and the other stakeholders in election said they were temporary withdrawing their demands for the heads of Ansah and other commissioners until the investigation is done and a report is out.
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