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Mec explains registration kit mess

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By Macdonald Thom:

Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) has said a Biometric Registration Kit (BRK), which has was found in Mozambique, went missing after the third phase of voter registration.

At a press conference in Lilongwe Friday, Mec Commissioner Responsible for Electoral Services Jean Mathanga said the machine in question went missing as it was being taken to Mwanza.

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She said the machine was used in Kasungu in the first phase of voter registration, in Ntchisi in the second phase and Lilongwe in third phase.

“The machine was used to conduct civil registration and not voter registration. We wanted to use it in Mwanza in the fourth phase but it did not arrive. At first, it was not alarming. We thought it was just misplaced somewhere and we could find it. The team was just allocated another kit so that it could be used in Mwanza,” Mathanga said.

She said the kits are normally transported in locked vans but the missing kit was transported in a vehicle (a Tata) from the Office of the President and Cabinet.

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She said, while Mec was looking for the kit, on September 29, the electoral body received information from Vale Logistics that the kit was found in Mozambique.

“When our technician checked the machine, we discovered that it did not have a laptop and a printer,” she said.

When asked what took the commission long to make public the issue of the missing kit, Mathanga said the issue was reported to police.

“The police are still conducting their investigations. We will communicate to stakeholders after getting the outcome of the investigations,” Mathanga said.

She said Mec is currently treating the issue as a case of theft.

According to the commission, although the kit is similar to the ones used in voter registration, they differ on software.

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