Governance commentators have called on Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) to summon politicians who are hallucinating at every turn about the possible rigging of the coming elections to bring evidence of their allegations so that the electoral body can act on it now before it is too late.
President Peter Mutharika on Sunday warned “a certain opposition political party” against rigging the May 21 Tripartite Elections, saying he will take appropriate action.
Mutharika, who is also the governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) torchbearer in the May elections, said he is aware that an opposition party, which he did not mention, intends to rig the elections and charged: “I am watching you! When I am ready, I will be after you big time.”
Vice-President Saulos Chilima, who is leading UTM Party, is also on record to have said that he was aware of a DPP scheme to rig the elections.
Malawi Congress Party (MCP) asked Chilima to reveal how DPP allegedly rigged the May 20 2014 Tripartite Elections which saw President Mutharika—with Chilima as running mate—winning by 36 percent. MCP’s Lazarus Chakwera finished second with 27 percent.
Governance expert and commentator Makhumbo Munthali told Nyasa Times on Monday that MEC should summon political gurus who go berserk preaching hollow sermons of rigging.
“In the best interest of free, credible and fair elections, it is important for Malawi Electoral Commission in conjunction with the Malawi Police Service to be proactive by summoning all those who are making rigging of elections claims to substantiate their allegations,” Munthali said.
“It is now becoming a routine for politicians to use political platforms to accuse each other of either conspiring to rig the elections or challenging each other that no one will rig the elections. Surprisingly, such politicians have got away with such remarks despite the potential implication such remarks have on the public trust and credibility of the electoral process and management,” he added.
Munthali said some members of the public may not go to vote “simply because they think their vote will not count in the context of rigging of elections claims. It’s high time those who make these allegations came forward and present their evidence.”
Social-political commentator Stanley Onjezani Kenani commenting on Facebook, wondered: “In 2014, President Peter Mutharika told BBC that an opposition party cannot rig. Now, in 2019, he says he suspects that the opposition wants to rig elections. What has changed?”
Others commenting argue that the ‘cartooning’ and empty conspiracy theories of rigging is not only affecting their credibility, but also unnecessarily raising the temperature in the run up to the polls on May 21.
They agree with Munthali that for the sake of a credible election process, political leaders should bring tangible evidence if they shout the word rigging or else they should shut up.
National Elections Systems Trust (Nest) executive director Unandi Banda noted that the speculations are very dangerous if not well addressed.
“These speculations require a proper soul-searching by all stakeholders in the electoral process,” he said.
On the other hand, MEC has recently been rocked in scandals that have raised questions on whether the electoral body is credible to deliver free, fair and credible elections in May this year.
Some of the scandals include theft of MEC’s biometric voter registration kit which was found on a coal train in Mozambique in September last year and the recent voter registration certificates which were found dumped in Mangochi last week.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :