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Mec in logistical glitch scare

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By Stephen Dakalira and Jarson Malowa:

Sam Alfandika

As Malawians continue to wait with bated breath for the outcome of May 21 Tripartite Elections, Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) has acknowledged that there were slight glitches, which, if left unchecked, could have ended up compromising the election process.

The admission by Mec Chief Elections Officer Sam Alfandika comes in light of reports that, in some districts, some of the vehicles tasked with ferrying ballot boxes to Mec warehouses were solely being manned by drivers without accompanying security detail.

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Speaking at a press conference in Blantyre Friday afternoon, Alfandika said it was a tall order to assign security personnel to each and every vehicle transporting ballot boxes from some districts in the Southern Region to Mec warehouse in Blantyre.

“Of course, we received reports about some trucks that were impounded as their drivers were ferrying the ballot boxes with no security detail…the problem is that those on the ground were not proactive to alert us that there were few security officers,” he said.

Alfandika then intimated that because of close collaboration between Mec officials and security agencies, the logistical challenges were quickly sorted out which saw detained vehicles being allowed to continue to Mec warehouse in Blantyre, only this time, under supervision by police

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Some of the districts on record to have faced such hiccups are Chikwawa and Zomba.

Earlier on Friday, Police in Zomba detained a driver of a lorry in the old capital city for transporting ballot boxes without police supervision, only to release him hours later.

He was on his way from Mangochi to Mec warehouse in Blantyre, transporting a truckload of cast ballot boxes in a vehicle bearing registration number TPE 2102.

Eastern Region Police Deputy Public Relations Officer Lawrence Phiri confirmed the development and identified the driver as Christopher Katunga, 47, of Pitamtunda Village, Traditional Authority Mlumbe in Zomba.

Katunga faces a charge of negligence to fulfil his obligation as mandated, contrary to Section 115 as read with Section 118 of the Parliamentary and Presidential Act.

After being released, Katunga continued his journey to Blantyre.

On Tuesday, Malawians took part in a decisive tripartite election to determine who would occupy the presidency, parliamentary seats as well as councillors slots at local government level.

A total of 6.8 million people registered for the election exercise, with 3.7 million of the registered voters being the youth.

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