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Election free and peaceful—MHRC

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The Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC) has described the June 23 fresh presidential election as free and peaceful.

Chairperson of the commission, Reverend Patrick Semphere, said this when the commission released its preliminary report on the management of the election.

He commended Mec Chairperson Justice Chifundo Kachale and the entire Mec team, Malawi Defence Force and Malawi Police Service for demonstrating what he described as maturity, objectivity and professionalism in the conduct of the election.

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“Particularly, the Commission noted that the elections were conducted in a peaceful environment and without serious logistical problems. Mec was transparent in the handling of electoral complaints and their operations. The Commission is calling upon all the people of Malawi to remain calm, peaceful and patient as they await Mec to announce the national election results,” he said.

In the report, the commission notes that the elections were without serious logistical problems and that Mec was transparent in the handling of electoral complaints.

Semphere also urged Mec to ensure that all complaints are comprehensively addressed before the final announcement of the national results.

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MHRC, however, expressed concern over the political violence that ensued in the build up to the elections.

The commission mentioned the torching a vehicle belonging to UTM in Balaka, torching of UTM offices in Lilongwe, stoning of the presidential motorcade in Ndirande and blocking of State Vice President Saulos Chilima’s entourage in Mulanje and Machinga.

Semphere said it is important that these and several other election related cases are investigated and brought to a logical conclusion.

The commission also expressed discontent with how the media, especially Malawi Broadcasting Corporation, performed during the election campaign period.

“The Commission also noted biased reporting of the media on election issues. Particularly, the Commission was concerned with unprofessional conduct by some journalists at the Malawi Broadcasting Corporation who engaged in partisan politicking and used offensive language against the State Vice President,” Semphere said.

Malawians went to the polls on Tuesday to choose a president, and unofficial results show that Tonse Alliance candidate and Malawi Congress Party president, Lazarus Chakwera, was the victor.

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