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Opposition presses Malawi Electoral Commission

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By Jameson Chauluka:

Opposition political parties have asked the Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) Chairperson, Justice Jane Ansah, Commissioner responsible for Electoral Services Jean Mathanga and Chief Elections Officer Sam Alufandika to step aside and pave the way for a forensic audit into the missing Biometric Voter Registration Kit.

The kit was found on a coal train belonging to Vale Logistics, sparking fears of possible rigging in next year’s elections.

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At a press briefing in Blantyre Tuesday, the parties demanded from Mec a concrete explanation on the circumstances surrounding the disappearance of the kit.

“Next year’s elections will be a sham if this issue will not be resolved. This issue has brought serious doubts among us political parties. Mec did not tell us in the first place that the machine went missing and they have dismally failed to explain the circumstances which made the kit to be lost,” Cassim Chilumpha, who is president of Alliance for the Democracy and Development, said.

Chilumpha, who is also chairperson of the alliance of the parties, said it was a matter of principle that an independent forensic audit cannot be carried out while Mec’s top leadership was still in office.

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“All those people have been employed before and they know that there is no way a forensic audit can be conducted when they are still in their offices with their drawers locked. If what they are saying, that they have nothing to hide and that their doors are open, is true, then they will step aside until the forensic audit is completed. If it finds nothing wrong, they will return [to office],” he said.

The parties also said they doubt Mec’s ability to keep safe sensitive voter registration material and that if the Mec top management refuses to step aside, the parties would take unspecified action to have their will done.

But Mec Chairperson, Justice Jane Ansah, has on several occassions assured Malawians that no data was tampered with despite the missing biometric registration kit.

She has also refused calls for her to step down.

The briefing was attended by senior officials UTM, People’s Party, Alliance for Democracy, People’s Transformation Party, Malawi Forum for Unity and Development, Republican Party and People’s Progressive Movement.

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