Mesn faults Mec on missing equipment


By Serah Makondetsa & Faith Kamtambe:

Malawi Electoral Support Network (Mesn) has faulted Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) for ignoring advice regarding the management and care of biometric voter registration machines.

The concern comes against the background of a missing biometric voter registration machine which was found on a train from Mozambique last week and some gadgets in Mzuzu.


In a statement issued on Tuesday, signed by Mesn Chairperson Steve Duwa, the network says, through its phase two biometric voter registration monitoring report, it established recklessness in management and care of the machines.

“From such engagements, Mesn has observed that Mec ignored advice as contained in phase two end of biometric voter registration monitoring regarding management and caring of the machines when transferring between phases.

“Mec’s response to the issue remains unsatisfactory and [is] characterised by lack of appreciation to the concerns [raised] by electoral stakeholders, thereby necessitating incessant calls for heads to roll at Mec,” the statement reads.


Mesn further accuses Mec of not informing electoral stakeholders about the missing equipment, arguing that this raises concerns of accountability at the commission.

“Mec erred in not informing electoral stakeholders, such as political parties through Centre for Multiparty Democracy or the nation at large, about the missing and later recovery of the machine.

“This raises serious questions about Mec’s accountability to the electoral stakeholders and the public. Security for election materials, including the biometric voter registration kit, has not been taken seriously by Mec,” the statement reads.

Mesn has since called on Mec to ensure thorough investigations on the matter and disclose the findings.

“Set up a small team of technocrats from stakeholders to strategise on issues of damage limitation. Mec should craft a proper narrative to the electorate and stakeholders on the data security that [sic] the machines possess, since this information belongs to the public,” it reads.

Umodzi Party leader, John Chisi, yesterday concurred with Mesn, arguing that election issues affect national security.

“Mec should realise that this is an issue bordering on the country’s security. We do not know how the machines have been tampered with and if the data contained in the machines is intact.

“National Registration Bureau came in the open to claim the machine, further complicating the matter because now the concerns are whether some people have used the machines to register as Malawian nationals,” Chisi said.

Meanwhile, various political parties in the country have asked for the dismissal of Mec personnel involved.

Mec explained earlier that the kit went missing while in transit from Lilongwe to Mwanza District.

Last week, Mec Commissioner responsible for Electoral Services, Jean Manthanga, told the media that they did not alert the public when the machine went missing because the issue was reported to police.

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