Police rule out arson in Mec warehouse fire


The Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) says the interim report on the fire that gutted the Commission’s warehouse in Lilongwe has bluntly ruled out arson as the likely cause of the inferno.

On the night of July 15 2014, fire gutted the warehouse during which Mec lost some property, including ballot papers for the contested Lilongwe City South East Constituency election.

In his report to the 8th National Elections Consultative Forum (Necof) on Friday, Mec Chairperson Maxon Mbendera said the Commission has no control over what the police are doing on the issue and the Commission will just continue waiting for conclusive information.


Just hours after the incident, Mec and the Malawi Congress Party (MCP), whose parliamentary election candidate for Lilongwe City South East, Ulemu Msungama, challenged Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) candidate, Bently Namasasu’s victory, said they suspected arson.

“I wish police were here to report directly what their findings are. But I can share with you that a steering committee in Lilongwe brought an interim report which indicates that we should forget about arson. I am paraphrasing; they didn’t say forget about arson, they said arson is ruled out.

“We have no control over what police do… but that is what the interim report says. If the police will join us during the day, I would like you to pose the questions to them,” Mbendera said.


When he gave the background to the fire incident, Mbendera mentioned several security agencies that were present during the night of the inferno, saying there was a milliard of security services doing their work during the night the warehouse was gutted.

He said apart from the Commission’s hired private security services, Mec also deployed police officers and according to the Commission’s reports there were contingents of ten officers per shift.

There were two shifts in a day, one during the day and the other one at night.

“I am talking about armed police officers. We have not received any report about a day or night in which police officers were not in attendance.

“In addition to this, Malawi Congress Party, suspicious as we are… being politicians… was not satisfied that police would do their job as they were going to do. They deployed their own security agencies and we have information that in the night in question these people were also present,” he said.

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