UDF makes rigging claims: ‘Malawi ruling PP rehearsing fraudulent polls’

The ruling People’s Party (PP) is said to have started conducting rigging rehearsals  for 2014 polls in the name of primary elections where government resources are used and the opposition United Democratic Front  (UDF) has since asked the Malawi Electoral Commission  (MEC) and various stakeholders to stop PP from the exercise immediately.

In its letter authored by UDF secretary general Kandi Padambo addressed to MEC chairperson and with copies sent to various political parties and Centre for Multiparty Democracy, UDF has asked MEC to stop PP from conducting “its so called primary elections” by employing public resources such as teachers, the police and MEC designated polling centres in constituencies which will also be used by the State in conducting the May 2014 tripartite elections.

“The issue was raised at the last board meeting of the Centre for Multiparty Democracy composed of all secretaries general and other representatives of political parties. This was confirmed by the deputy secretary general and director of women of the Peoples Party who undertook to convey the position of the Centre for Multiparty Democracy to their party with a view to stopping this unfortunate exercise forthwith,” reads the letter dated December 22 2013.

Padambo:  Its rigging tactics
Padambo: Its rigging tactics

Padambo questions where PP has taken the money to finance such primary elections involving public resources that include teachers, police officers and others because, he says, the normal practice for political parties is to select only senior members from party structures in constituencies to comprise the voters roll in primary elections.

“The use of teachers and a large number of police officers at officially designated polling centres will result in confusing voters and make most of them, given literacy levels in Malawi, believe that it is in fact a real government elections.

“The potential for rigging can also too easily be discerned. There have been rampant rumours and real cases of people going round and buying voter registration cards. It is conceivable that such an exercise will allow the Peoples Party to ascertain which voters in a particular constituency will vote for the party in the general elections,” reads the letter.

UDF argues that PP will use the number of voters per constituency to ascertain its strength.

“That number will be compared with the number of registered voters at each of the polling centres. Any noted discrepancy against the party will lead to tampering and doctoring of the official register of voters or voters roll to counter the adverse discrepancy,” says Padambo.

UDF calls on all concerned stakeholders to join hands with MEC to ensure that PP stops the rigging it has started.

The party also asks the stakeholders to ensure that measures are taken to guarantee fairness and credibility of the 2014 elections.

Concludes the letter: “In view of the foregoing we demand the early publicizing of the raw data, even in digital form, of the new voters roll to all political parties and other stakeholders for scrutiny and to ensure the participation of all stakeholders in rectification of noted anomalies. This is the only way that transparency n be ensured with a view to dispel any suspicions which may be real, particularly in the light of what the Peoples Party, being a party in government is doing, or merely imagined.”

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