The Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) has suspended voter registration exercise in Blantyre City with immediate effect following sporadic attacks in various registration centers by political thugs on Tuesday morning.
The armed gang linked to the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) accused the Commission of continuing with voter registration amidst the threat of coronavirus pandemic which has far attacked16 people and claimed lived of two in the country.
The MEC chairperson Jane Ansah said in statement seen by Nyasa Times that the decision was made “to protect the lives of registrants, voter registration staff and MEC property”.
Reads the statement in part: “Stakeholders are informed that on Saturday, 11th April 2020, the Commission filed an application with the Supreme Court of Appeal for orders or directions to vary the Constitutional Court order in view of the coronavirus threat.”.
It further says the Commission will, immediately after Supreme Court determination on the matter, advise the nation on the future of voter registration in the affected centers.
Main opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) spokesperson Maurice Munthali told a local radio that he believes the vandals are members of DPP who have long tried using different tactics to stop the fresh elections, a view which was supported by the opposition UTM spokesperson Chidanti Malunga.
However, DPP officials have disowned the thugs, saying the party is peaceful and is ready for the July 2 fresh presidential elections which they claimed they will win with a landslide.
Southern Region police spokesperson Ramsey Mushani says the police have released on a bail one the suspect they arrested because he was brutally beaten up by the communities.
The suspect has been identified by many on social media as a known DPP cadre involved in violent activities.
Commenting on the developments, political scientist Mustafa Hussein, who teaches at Chancellor College—a constituent college of the University of Malawi, said from the narration the gangs were sponsored by some political parties to disrupt the fresh presidential elections process.
He branded the gang as “desperate criminals” and condemned the act.
Said Hussein: “People should remember that we are repeating this presidential election. Every election process requires money and trying to block this fresh presidential elections means draining the tax-payers’ money.”
MEC is set to hold a fresh presidential election on July 2 2020, a day before the expiry of the 150 days as set by the High Court sitting as the Constitutional Court which nullified the May 21 2019 presidential election.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :