Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) has confirmed that there was indeed a break in at its offices in Lilongwe on Tuesday but denied claims by UTM Party presidential candidate Saulos Chilima that Closed- Circuit Television (CCTV) cameras were stolen by the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) operatives.
MEC spokesman Sangwani Mwafulirwa, however, told Nyasa Times that no computers or cameras were stolen but the matter has been reported to police for further investigations.
He said the place was guarded by two police officer but they did not notice anything until MEC officials arrived for work in the morning.
Chilima, who is also the country’s Vice-President, speaking in northern district of Chitipa on a campaign whistle-stop charged: “It is DPP that have stolen the cameras from MEC. We are not surprised because it is the same DPP, led by Nicholous Dausi that set a MEC warehouse on fire in 2014. Let them sue me if they want to. We shall meet in court.”
Ironically, Chilima was in the governing DPP when on the night of July 15 2014, fire burnt the warehouse and destroyed some property, including ballot boxes scheduled for vote recount in a contested Lilongwe City South East parliamentary election.
Commenting on Chilima’s fire claims, MEC spokesman said the electoral body has never been furnished with a detailed report about the fire.
Governance commentators have backed Chilima for making the revelations, saying he was part of the DPP government before he broke ranks with President Peter Mutharika, as such he could not reveal incidences that were happening in the government he was serving.
Mzuzu-based political commentator Emily Mkamanga said Chilima’s revelation is still relevant because Malawians will be voting this month in tripartite elections.
“The revelation has come at the right time because we are going for elections,” said Mkamanga, adding “everybody is saying an evil deed of what others have done… this is important because people are going to know what exactly happened.”
University of Livingstonia political commentator George Phiri also said Chilima was spot on in making his revelations on the baring of the MEC warehouse and loss of CCTV equipment.
Phiri warned that Chilima is likely to make more startling revelations about ill in the DPP government “especially on corruption.”
DPP spokesperson Dausi dismissed Chilima’s assertion that the break in was the work of the ruling party, saying the vice president was merely doing political mudslinging.
Dausi also denied the veep allegation that he was behind the burning of MEC warehouse.
“We cannot be answering to everything what Chilima is saying, then it will not be a campaign. He (Chilima) has the right to speak what he wants. Let him continue,” said Dausi.
About 6.59 million voters are expected to vote this year, with over half of the eligible voters being youths and women.
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