Tembo vows to fight ‘rigging’ tactics

Tembo: We will not allow rigging this time around

Malawi Leader of Opposition, John Tembo, has cautioned President Bingu wa Mutharika against plotting to rig the 2014 presidential elections that will be held simultaneously with parliamentary and local government polls.

Tembo said President Mutharika‘s inaction on the appointment of the Commissioners to run the Malawi Electoral Commission is one of the tactics to rig the elections.

“The status quo is not surprising,” he told Capital FM radio on Wednesday.

The term of commissioners expired on January 18 while the chairperson Justice Anastasia Msosa’s contract runs out in September.

Tembo asked the President to make consultations with relevant stakeholders on the appointment of new commissioners.

“The Electoral Commission must be appointed in consultation with political parties in parliament,” said the opposition chief.

“Now it appears the President is not willing to carry that consultation,” he said.

The veteran politician who leads Malawi Congress Party (MCP) cautioned that the consultations should not be “personal negotiations with individuals”.

“We are not going to leave him alone to rig the elections through the appointment of personal friends,” warned the MCP president.

“He [Mutharika] must face the results of an election that will be contested,” Tembo said, insisting President Mutharika “ is supposed to appoint members of Electoral Commission in consultations with political parties.”

Tembo also said the holding of presidential, parliamentary and local government elections simultaneously “is going to be complicated.”

“It will be very difficult, cumbersome,” he said.

“We welcome the decision to hold local government election,  as we have always done,  but it must be done separately,” said Tembo.

Tembo lost to Mutharika in 2004 and 2009 presidential elections and claimed they were all rigged.

Both aged 78, this might be Tembo’s last attempt at the presidency if his MCP give him a nod to try the third-time luck.

Meanwhile, presidential spokesman Hetherwick Ntaba  dismissed Tembo’s claims that Mutharika wants to rig the polls and challenged the opposition leader to produce evidence.

Ntaba said the statement from Tembo was “irresponsible.”

“If they have the evidence that so and so is going to be appointed and the intention is to rig, then let them come up with the evidence,” said Ntaba.

He rebuked the opposition leader for “poor logic” to think that the delay in appointing the Commissioners is rigging ploy.

Ntaba said the President will appoint new commissioners at an appropriate time and that he  will make sure that no constitutional breaches have been made.

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