MEC warns against abusing voter identity cards

Amid accusations and counter accusations by politicians and political commentators over possible rigging due to strange acts by some in getting voter identity cards of the electorate when they want to render some assistance, the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) has condemned the development.

The Commission has since called upon those that have their voter cards retained by others to reclaim their certificates, further warning those engaged in such acts to stop forthwith or face the law.

“The Malawi Electoral Commission understands that some social service providers are using its voter certificates for identification. The Commission wishes to inform those engaging in this practice to cease immediately.

Justice Mbendera : Warns
Justice Mbendera : Warns

“The Commission stresses that it is an offense to retain a voter certificate with the intention excluding the owner from participating in the electoral process,” writes MEC Chairperson Justice Maxon Mbendera in a statement.

Justifying its stand, MEC says it has reached the decision based on numerous complaints stating, that some unscrupulous persons are using voter identification cards to affect the integrity of the electoral vote.

And underlining its authority over the electoral voter certificate, MEC orders all affected to reclaim their voter certificates if they are not in their possession and has also commanded all persons or organizations keeping voter certificates of others to surrender them forthwith.

“The Commission is urging all registered voters to reclaim voter certificates that are not in their possession. Individuals and institutions in possession of voter certificates should return them to their rightful owners or surrender them to the Commission with immediate effect,” reads the statement in part.

MEC has further advised persons that will have difficulty in reclaiming their voter certificates to report the same to the Commission.

Malawians will on May 20 vote for a President, Parliamentarian and Counsellor of the choice, and although the campaign period is yet to open, some politicians and political parties are busy taking voter certificates or particulars there on for no clear reasons.

The development has raised fears in certain quarters that there could be a possibility of some people coming up with duplicates and that some could render the legitimate owners helpless in a way denying them their right to vote a persons of their choice.

MEC has however assured all that have had their voter certificates taken that they will still be able to vote as long as they produce necessary documentation.

And the MEC has once again underlined its mandate and readiness in administering the elections, albeit being the first tripartite in the country, in a free, fair, credible and admirable manner.

“The Commission wishes to reassure the public that it is committed to ensuring the integrity of the upcoming elections and that the Commission will not entertain any voter certificates that were not issued at its designated centers. Individuals found in possession of cards not issued by the Commission will be prosecuted,” Justice Mbendera adds in the statement.

With this new development it will be seen whether people involved will continue giving out the hand outs that were being given upon production of the electoral voter certificates.

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