Malawi Congress Party (MCP) and its electoral alliance partners People’s Party (PP) and Freedpm Party are challenging the credentials of Al Ghurair Print and Publishing Company Limited of Dubai which has been given the contract by Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) to print the ballot paers for May 21 Tripartite Election.
MEC director of media and public relations Sangwani Mwafulirwa said in a media statement that the ballot papers are being printed at Al Ghurair Printing and Publishing LLC which is located at Al Ghurair Printing and Publishing LLC Masafi Compound, (Behind Fairmont Hotel – Shaikh Zayed Road) 2nd December Street, Satwa, PO Box 5613, Dubai United Arab Emirates
The opposition alliance claims the tendering process was insufficiently transparent and the Dubai-based firm Al Ghurair has credibility concerns elsewhere in Kenya and Zambia.
Al Ghurair Printing and Publishing is owned by the Dubai-based Al Ghurair Group, which has interests in construction, petrochemicals, real estate and other industries.
MCP spokesperson Reverend Maurice Munthali confirmed to Nyasa Times that the party and its alliance partners and electoral stakeholders will be objecting toawarding the tender to print ballot papers to Al Ghurair Printing company due to procedural impropriety.
“We will make our stand known,” Munthali said.
Political observor Mzondi Lungu commenting on social media wrote: “ Has anyone asked MEC the reasons for printing votes in Dubai? Will that not be fertile ground for rigging?”
He queried if there was any public tender process and procedure before awarding the ballot contract
The opposition states that MEC did not conduct due diligence on this company adding that if the Commission did, it would have known that Al Ghurair Printing company had its contract cancelled by Kenya’s High Court to print ballot papers
The opposition also says in the Uganda elections that saw the impugned victory of Yoweri Museveni held on the 18th of February 2016, whereas the Supreme Court of Uganda upheld the election outcome, nine Judges had found valid evidence of electoral malpractices including late delivery of polling materials.
The opposition alliance claims ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) top brass are behind the bidding and awarding of the contract to Al Ghurair Printing company and that they are celebrating after MEC officially declared that the Dubai company had won the bidding for the ballot job..
Political observers says these suspicions create “an environment of mistrust” whose effect is to poison the election atmosphere.
But the Commission said it is open to send a ‘monitoring delegation’ to Dubai from all parties interested.
MEC said all political parties and candidates that wish to monitor the printing process to get accreditation from the Chief Elections Officer “so that they can begranted access into the printing premises.”
The electoral body said the deal had already been signed and that it was way behind its electoral cycle schedule.
“The ballot paper printing exercise is expected run from 1st to 30 April, 2019,” MEC spokespersons said in a statement.
Nyasa Times calls and emails to the Al Ghurair Group were not immediately returned.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :