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Nsanje Central Constituency returning officer charged

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By By Jameson Chauluka:

Police in Nsanje have charged Fred Thomas, who was Nsanje Central Constituency Returning Officer, with forgery and being found in possession of Malawi Electoral Commission’s (Mec) materials.

Thomas was arrested on Thursday for allegedly tampering with the result sheets from the constituency’s tally centres which were under him.

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Nsanje Police spokesperson Agnes Zalakoma said Police would take him to court in consultation with Mec.

“It’s forgery and being found in possession of Mec’s materials but we will hear from Mec on how to proceed with the matter,” she said.

Thomas was allegedly obscuring some results from the result sheets from the polling centres with Tipp-Ex and inserting other figures.

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Malawi Congress Party’s shadow member of Parliament (MP) Tafandikhale Mandevana, who was the area’s immediate past MP Francis Kasaila’s main challenger, has since lodged a complaint with Mec demanding a rerun arguing the whole electoral process was compromised.

“As we are speaking, I am at Mec’s offices to lodge the complaint. What happened in Nsanje Central was unacceptable,” he said.

Tione Malizani, Mandevana’s monitor at Mpatsa Primary School, which was both a polling and constituency tally centre, said Thomas and other polling staff refused to give him a complaint form to register his concerns about how the elections were conducted.

“In most polling centres, the monitors were not given result sheets and what the altered result sheets are saying and what happened at the polling centres according to our monitors is different,” he said.

Although polls closed on Tuesday evening, there were no aggregate figures for Nsanje as of yesterday as results from five out of the 26 polling centres in Nsanje Central Constituency were yet to be filed.

Reports say the alteration of result sheets also took place in Nsanje North Constituency where MCP shadow MP Enoch Chizuzu also disputed the results.

Chizuzu wrote Mec on May 23 saying he is not satisfied with how the elections were held which shows that former first deputy speaker of Parliament Esther Mcheka Chilenje, who was representing Democratic Progressive Party, won with 12,027 votes against Chizuzu’s 10,302.

Chizuzu said in the letter addressed to Mec Chairperson Justice Jane Ansah and the entire commission that the elections were marred by a lot of irregularities and deprived the voters of their right to choose leaders of their choice.

Mec officials, political parties and the police held a fact-finding meeting with Thomas Friday at Nsanje Police but MCP’s representatives refused to sign a form which said all was well with the result sheets.

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