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Elections not credible—Pac

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By Stevie Chauluka:

Quasi-religious body, Public Affairs Committee (Pac), has said it is difficult to trust results of the May 21 Tripartite Elections, saying they lack credibility.

In a statement which Pac Chairperson, Reverend Felix Chingota, read out to journalists in Blantyre Thursday, the committee faulted the manner in which Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) managed the elections.

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“Pac is of the opinion that the results of these elections lack credibility. We, however, acknowledge those who have been declared winners at various levels and wish them every success. God, the Almighty, will help us to figure out the truth so that justice prevails and that the future is guided for the betterment of those who suffer in silence,” Chingota said.

Pac’s observation on the matter is in sharp contrast to what Mec Chairperson, Justice Jane Ansah, said when announcing presidential election results on Monday.

Ansah said the commission had attended to all queries made by aggrieved parties and that the elections were “credible, free and fair”.

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Malawi Congress Party sought a High Court injunction in Lilongwe restraining Mec from announcing results of presidential election until irregularities in the vote count were resolved.

However, while the judicial review continues in court, Judge Charles Mkandawire lifted the injunction, paving the way for Mec to declare Peter Mutharika the winner of the presidential race.

But, at the briefing Thursday, Chingota also questioned why Mec went ahead to announce result of the presidential race when there were 147 complaints that the commission received and were not addressed.

“We take the view that 147 complaints should have been adequately dealt with in terms of their redress no matter how small they might be if we go by the complaints from concerned parties,” he said

He also claimed that Mec refused to meet Pac when it wanted to seek clarification on gaps prior to the announcement of the results.

“The doors were not open as we were informed that all issues had been sorted out. However, observations show that the use of Tipp-ex in whatever form exacerbates the erosion of credibility on the result management. Although statistics may seem to tally from various centres, the introduction of Tipp-ex raises eyebrows,” he said.

Chingota wondered why Mec argued that it did not supply Tipp-ex but the commission “entertained” its use in all polling centres from Chitipa to Nsanje.

Taking his turn, Pac Publicity Secretary, Peter Mulomole, lauded the conflict resolution mechanism which MCP leader Lazarus Chakwera has deployed in challenging the results in court.

“On 4 May, party leaders signed the Lilongwe Peace Declaration in which we recommend engaging the courts as one of the conflict resolution mechanisms. We applaud Chakwera for taking such a step because it is one of the ways we recommended to the leaders in the Peace Declaration they signed,” Mlomole said.

Pac has asked Malawians to remain peaceful as the country is transiting from the electoral mood.

It has also asked the police to exercise restraint and refrain from selective enforcement of the law in managing security.

Ansah was not readily available for a comment.

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