Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) chairperson Jane Ansah, has condemned reported cases of electoral violence happening in some parts of the country ahead of the July 2 fresh presidential election with opposition blaming government of unleashing terror campaign y to disenfranchise some voters through intimidation.
Ansah said this on Tuesday during a news conference after some monitors for UTM Party and Malawi Congress Party (MCP) were over the weekend beaten in Thyolo.
There has also been a reported attack on the home of Shaheeda Hussein, UTM Party Eastern Region director of women, in Balaka where her house and a UTM Party-branded vehicle were torched by unidentified assailants.
And Tuesday a UTM office in Area 24, Lilongwe was petrol bombed and two children of the watchman were battling for their lives at the hospital.
In her remarks, Ansah said the electoral body has received reports of violence in various places as phase two of voter registration is progressing.
She said the incidences are ranging from assault of registration officers and party representatives, disruption of registration at registration centres, vandalism of registration equipment and intimidation.
“ The perpetrators are condemned in strongest terms. These are criminal acts,” said Ansah, a judge at Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal.
She said the Electoral Commission does not want to manage an election characterized with violence, intimidation and blood shedding.
“Whoever is behind these acts should stop forthwith,” said Ansah.
MEC chairwoman is urging the Malawi Police Service and all law enforcement institutions to investigate and apprehend the suspects so that they should be treated in accordance with the law.
However, in Blantyre the public captured the suspects but they were released on orders from the governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) because they were members of the party youth militia –Cadets.
On allegations of registration of minors, the MEC chairperson said there have been “several complaints” that minors who were being registered to get the national ID by the National Registration Bureau (NRB) and then subsequently by the MEC as voters.
She said MCP presidential hopeful Lazarus Chakwera laid accusations that Commission thatis colluding and conniving with the NRB to falsify the voters’ register in scheme to rig the coming fresh presidential election.
The Commission met Tuesday to look into the matter and agree on the way forward in view of the allegations, according to the chairperson.
She said MEC are weighing the possibility of using last year’s voter register or going for verification.
“ The Commission is weighing the options of either reverting to the 2019 Voters’ Register or taking measures to screen the voters’ register that is being compiled now,” she said.
“In screening the voters’ register it has been resolved by the Commission that it will revisit all problematic areas and all areas that have been flagged as having been registered the underaged,” she said.
During the screening exercise, MEC will revisit problematic areas and all areas flagged to have been registering minors.
“The commission will invite new registrants to come to flagged to verify their eligibility in terms of age. If the registrants do not come, the commission will treat them as ineligible and will strike them of the voters’ roll,” said Ansah.
She added that monitors and officials of all political parties will be allowed to attend the screening exercise.
Ansah said the commission is committed to ensure that all ineligible voters do not get their way.
“The commission is aware of the impact of the quality of the voter register in holding free, fair and credible elections,” said Ansah.
Ansah further said the commission is ready to recieive nomination papers from presidential aspirants Wednesday starting with Chakwera as the first to present on MCP ticket at Soche International Conference Centre at Sunbird Mount Soche in Blantyre.
Chakwera will be followed by Shaibu Mustafa of New Vision for Democracy Party at 10am, Peter Kuwani of Mbakuwaku Movement for Development at 11am then independent aspirants Ras Chikomeni David Chirwa at 2pm and Revelend Hadwick Kaliya at 3pm.
On Thursday, according to the programme, it will be the turn of independent Khwechani Wesuze Nkhoma at 9am followed by other independents Phunziro Mvula (10am) and Smart Swira (2pm).
Incumbent President Peter Mutharika of DPP in alliance with United Democratic Front (UDF) will be the last to present his nomination papers at 3pm on Thursday.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :