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Mec results sheets missing

By Jameson Chauluka:

Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) cannot trace results and tally sheets for elections for Nsanje Central, Nsanje North and Chikwawa East constituencies.

The development came to light during the inspection of the polling materials for the three constituencies at Mec’s warehouse in Blantyre.

“Pursuant to the court order dated 11 July 2019, by Honourable Justice Kalembera…items (a) and (b) [Original results sheets for all polling centres in Nsanje Central, Nsanje North and Chikwawa East and Original tally sheets] have not been disclosed and are not in the custody of Mec,” reads a letter co-signed by Wester Kossamu, lawyer for the three shadow members of Parliament (MP), and Mec’s lawyer Dalitso Mataka.

The letter further says the other documents were only partially disclosed.

Malawi Congress Party shadow MPs—Kafandikhale Mandevana of Nsanje Central, Enoch Chizuzu (Nsanje North) and Foster Thipiwa (Chikwawa East)—are challenging May 21 parliamentary election results.

Following the elections, Mec declared Francis Kasaila of Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) the winner of Nsanje Central, Esther Mcheka-Chilenje (DPP) for Nsanje North and Sam Khumbayiwa of United Democratic Front for Chikwawa East.

The court had ordered the Clerk of Parliament to release a number of documents, including original results sheets duly signed by the aggrieved shadow MPs’ monitors and original tally sheets for all the polling centres in the constituencies in question.

But during inspection of the documents at the commission’s warehouse last week, which involved opening all the ballot boxes, the court could not find the documents which Kosamu, in an earlier interview, described as key.

Meanwhile the case returns to court on Monday.

So far, Mec is also yet to produce documents it used in the presidential elections to court after being ordered to do so in the ongoing elections case.

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