By Jameson Chauluka:
Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) has deployed 11,000 security personnel to safeguard the electoral process today when Malawians vote in today’s tripartite elections.
Briefing journalists in Blantyre Monday, Mec Chairperson, Justice Jane Ansah, said all polling materials had been delivered even to hard-to-reach areas ready for polling, which started at 6am.
“At first, we went to the police and asked for 11,000 police officers to provide security to the process because we understand that it is their mandate to provide internal security, but they told us they would only release 5,500 officers for the exercise. We then went to Malawi Defence Force, Immigration and Prison [departments] to provide the remaining personnel,” she said
Ansah said the role of the security personnel is confined to providing security and escort services but they will not be involved in vote counting or handling.
Ansah confirmed to have received a report of suspected rigging from one of the political parties and an allegation that Cadets have infiltrated the police system and have been provided with uniforms to help to rig the elections.
“These claims have been made just to divert the attention of Malawians and make voters anxious. The report we received is lacking. Malawians should not be worried but go and vote in their numbers,” she said.
Malawi Police Deputy Inspector General, Duncan Mwapasa, said it was impossible for an individual or a group of people to recruit the cadets into the service for the purpose of rigging the elections.
“Deployment of police staff is not a single person’s job; so, if anyone or a group of people wanted to recruit the cadets to help in rigging the elections, it cannot work. That is totally false,” he said.
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