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MCP ‘exposes’ vote rigging

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Malawi Congress Party (MCP) president, Lazarus Chakwera, Wednesday claimed that Malawians’ votes are not safe allegedly because Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) is not doing enough to protect the votes.

Chakwera’s claims come barely three days after Mec rolled out the second phase of the voter registration exercise which runs from April 27 to May 10.

Briefing reporters in Lilongwe, the MCP leader said his party has overwhelming evidence showing that Mec’s voters’ roll is compromised. He then accused governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) of using National Registration Bureau (NRB) identity cards (Ids) and register to corrupt the catalogue.

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But Mec Director of Media and Communications, Sangwani Mwafulirwa and NRB spokesperson, Norman Fulatira, said in separate interviews that the two institutions will respond to the raised allegations at an appropriate time.

Chakwera also disclosed that MCP has directed its legal team to begin a court action so that NRB’s database can be disclosed, audited and cleaned. He said the fresh database is the one that can be used to audit and clean Mec’s voter catalogue.

The MCP leader gave an example of an 18-year-old man from Chikwawa to “expose” that through collecting IDs from Malawians on the pretext of processing Malawi Enterprise Development Fund loans, the current administration is creating imaginary voters for the forthcoming poll.

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He said when the Chikwawa man went to register as a potential voter for the first time, he was shocked that his name had already been registered in 2018.

“Upon arrival at the voter registration centre, his national ID card was scanned by a Mec official, but to his shock, it was discovered that his number was already in Mec voters’ roll, registered by Mec two years ago when he was an underage but under a different name and a different date of birth.

“This means that someone stole his identity from the NRB register in 2018 and used it to create a fake voter in Mec voters’ roll for the 2019 elections,” Chakwera said.

He added: “When the incident was reported to Mr Daud Suleiman, who is the head of ICT under the MCP Directorate of Elections, he mobilised our vast network of intelligence-gathering assets to investigate.”

Chakwera further claimed that after a thorough comparison between the IDs of several young people and Mec’s voter roll, his party’s ICT experts have identified over 7,000 minors with similar cases.

“This means that since 2018, the NRB national IDs of minors have been used to create fake voters and ghost voters in Mec’s voters’ roll. These fake voters and ghost voters were already used in the 2019 elections but the criminals did it without anyone noticing,” Chakwera said.

He added that he has asked the party’s Directorate of Elections to engage Mec and begin the process of auditing and cleaning the voters’ roll.

“So, as we continue our national fight to defeat coronavirus, which has my full support, despite efforts by thieves to abuse the funds intended for the same, we will also fight over air, land and sea to protect our rights as citizens,” the MCP leader said.

In his presentation, Suleman said a close scrutiny of both Mec and NRB databases revealed that the systems had numerous ghosts, ranging from people using fake names to registration of people born in the 1890s.

In the presentation, which lasted over 20 minutes, Suleman said it was astonishing to note that people’s names, gender and year of birth were being changed within a space of two minutes between NRB and Mec registrations.

Asked for a comment on the matter, Mwafulirwa said: “There will be a response from Mec on the issues raised and the allegations made at an appropriate time” while Fulatila said: “as NRB, we are still looking into the claims and at an appropriate time, we will respond.”

On his part, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) spokesperson, who is also Minister of Homeland Security, Nicholas Dausi, described the sentiments by MCP as unsubstantiated lies.

“MCP has made a lot of allegations which I do not want to glorify here because they were peddling lies yet they are the ones who have chased away our monitors at Kabudula, M’bwatalika [in Lilongwe] and other areas. In fact, UTM and MCP have become synonyms with lies.

“All what they have said is trash aimed at concealing their own agendas to register small boys and their plot to impeach the President when Parliament meets. But all these are lies that Malawians should not believe,” Dausi said.

Malawi is expected to hold the fresh presidential election on July 2 after the Constitutional Court nullified the May 21 2019 presidential poll citing systematic and widespread irregularities.—Additional reporting by Serah Chilora

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