After carrying out a swift investigation, Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) has said the 750 voter registration certificates issued at a centre in Lilongwe which were found abandoned in Mangochi.verified that the voter certificates that were abandoned in Mangochi were forgotten by one of its temporary staff member.
According to MEC, the temporary staff member was part of the team that conducted voter verification exercise at Mlare School in Lilongwe and during the exercise the temporary staff in question was erroneously printing the voter certificates for every person who came for voter verification which was against clear instructions that printing should only be done for replacement of lost certificates.
But instead of handing over the certificates to MEC staff during retrieval after voter verification in Lilongwe, the staff member in question is reported to have forgotten to do so and proceeded with them to Mangochi where he had been posted to Thema 1 School.
And in Mangochi, the same temporary staff forgot the envelope alongside other personal effects in the room he had been sleeping at the school and envelope they were in, together with his personal effects, were found by pupils attending extra lessons at the school, who handed them over to the headteacher.
More drama proceeded in that the headteacher, who worked as a supervisor during the voter verification exercise, took the voter certificates to a Malawi Congress Party (MCP) campaign director and later to an aspiring MP for the constituency instead of informing the Commission, the District Commissioner or the Police.
“The aspiring MCP MP for the constituency displayed the voter certificates, took pictures and circulated them on social media,” MEC says in a statement issued on Friday by chief elections officer Sam Alfandika.
“Meanwhile, the temporary staff is still under police interrogation to establish if there was any ill motive for his action.
“MEC records show that a total of 821 voters came to verify their details during the voter verification exercise at Mlare School. As a way forward the Commission will organise a stakeholders meeting at Mlare School to explain to the voters at the centre what happened and also assure them that their voter registration details are safe and intact,” the statement said.
During the meeting the Commission will also show the voters register for the centre and the permanent records for the centre.
The voter certificates found in Mangochi will be kept in safe custody by the MEC and be destroyed in full view of the public when the matter is closed.
“The MEC will no longer involve the headteacher at Thema 1 School in subsequent electoral activities because he behaved irresponsibility and showed politically compromised conduct,’’ the statement said .
The temporary staff has been withdrawn from MEC ongoing voter verification for purposes of further interrogation by the Police.
The Commission is assuring all stakeholders that this incident has not comprised the registration details of the people at Mlare Centre in Lilongwe.
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.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :