Opposition political parties have bemoaned the actions of some people who are collecting national identity (ID) cards for unverified reasons as the country is preparing for the fresh presidential election.
Malawi Congress Party Secretary-General Eisenhower Mkaka described the move as tricks by governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) to stop people from certain parts of the country from registering as voters ahead of the poll.
“If people don’t have their national IDs, they may not be allowed to register as voters. We have information that some of the people doing this are being sent by the DPP. We have raised the concern at the National Elections Consultative Forum that this is unfortunate.
“We apprehended some of them in Lilongwe, handed them over to police but they were released on bail. We are urging the police to end this crime, otherwise we will end it ourselves,” Mkaka said.
He also claimed that his party has information that on top of collecting the ID cards, people from Mozambique are registering as citizens of Malawi in some parts of the country especially Mwanza, positioning themselves to register as voters.
UTM Secretary-General Patricia Kaliati said this is a sign of panic from “people who claimed that they won fair and square in the May 21 2019 election”.
“If they won the election, why are they panicking? Why taking advantage of poor people by confiscating their IDs to stop them from registering as voters?” she said.
But DPP spokesperson Nicholas Dausi dismissed the allegations that his party is behind the scam, saying that is cheap propaganda.
“I know you want to help MCP. I know you want to help UTM. I know you don’t like DPP but can you believe those claims? Really? With all your school? Why should we get people’s IDs when they can still access all the information from the database? You think any party worth its name like the DPP can do that? Nooo!” Dausi charged.
Among the suspects arrested in Ntchisi are Zakeyo Chimpango, 54, from Chapulapula Village and Allan Meja, 38, from Chulu Village, both from Traditional Authority Kalumo in the district. They were found in possession of 35 national IDs.
Ntchisi Police Public Relations Officer Richard Kaponda referred The Daily Times to National Police spokesperson James Kadadzera who confirmed the arrests and disclosed that two more suspects were nabbed in Lilongwe but were released on police bail.
Kadadzera said the suspects told the police that they were collecting the IDs to process Malawi Enterprise Development Fund (Medef) loans for the holders of the IDs. He also said investigations on the matter are in progress.
Medef Chief Executive Officer Mervis Mangulenje did not pick her mobile phone on several attempts.
The government institution has, however, released a video clip in which it is distancing itself from the scam.
“Only employees of Medef are authorised to deal on behalf of the fund. Only Medef members of staff can deal on our behalf and they have valid identity cards,” the message says.
President Peter Mutharika launched the K80 billion Medef loan scheme early this month.
On February 3, the Constitutional Court in Lilongwe nullified the May 21 2019 presidential election and ordered that a fresh poll should be conducted within 150 days from the day of judgement.
Malawi Electoral Commission Chairperson, Jane Ansah, recently announced that the fresh poll will be held on July 2 using the legal framework that had governed the nullified poll after Mutharika refused to assent to the electoral reforms bills which would have necessitated the 50 percent+1 system.