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Saulos Chilima outlines election irregularities

By Macdonald Thom:

UTM president Saulos Chilima has outlined a number of irregularities the party noted during May 21 presidential, parliamentary and local government elections.

At a press conference in Lilongwe Friday, Chilima said it is disappointing that despite supporting the Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec), the electoral body “dismally failed in its constitutional duty to the people of Malawi by being involved in a scheme aimed at ultimately subverting the will of the people of Malawi”.

The former vice-president maintained his position that the results of the presidential elections should be declared null and void.

“Some of the irregularities for which we have incredible evidence and proof are: 1. Failure to collect and seal away extra ballot papers before counting and compiling results, thereby making extra ballot papers available for post-polling marking and stuffing to consummate the fraudulent results records or post-future verification against the ballot in peril; 2. Failure to determine complaints before announcing the presidential return,” Chilima said.

He said results of the elections were processed fraudulently and in breach of the law in favour of President Peter Mutharika.

Chilima said Mec officials failed to provide or refused to provide UTM representatives with result-sheet records as provided by the law, a situation, he said, opened the result records to tampering and interference.

He said there was altering and even transposing of results among candidates and wrong summations in favour of Mutharika.

“[Other irregularities] are serious breach of security of the result records in favour of the candidate declared winner; voters being allowed to cast more than one vote for the presidential election in areas where the declared winner supposedly had his main support,” Chilima said.

He said there was also intimidation of UTM monitors and agents.

At the press conference, Chilima also said his party has gathered evidence of widespread misconduct of agents of Mutharika, Mec officers and security personnel.

“This is the evidence we shall be taking to court for the court’s intervention. Beyond the above-mentioned evidence, we have further gathered evidence of alleged misconduct on the part of the chairperson of the Commission [Justice Jane Ansah], which we shall share with the Commission privately,” he said.

When answering questions from journalists, Chilima said he will give Ansah five days to respond to the issues and, if she does not do so by Friday, next week, he will make public what is contained in the letter.

Chilima, however, said Ansah must resign from her position immediately.

“Our position with respect to the chairperson of the Commission is that, having dismally failed to lead the Commission and returned the most fraudulent elections in the history of this nation, she should do the honourable thing in the circumstances, that is, to immediately resign so that more capable people can lead the Commission,” he said.

Chilima appealed to Malawians to remain peaceful and observe law and order.

“We must be angry with the fraud committed against the nation. But let us not direct our anger towards the wrong direction, thereby contributing to the further deterioration of the already miserable lives of Malawians….Let us, if we can, store that anger as we shall soon unleash it to lawfully defeat evil forces that keep holding back this country,” he said.

Recently, when Human Rights Defenders Coalition made a similar call, Mec spokesperson Sangwani Mwafulirwa said Ansah would not resign.

Both UTM and Malawi Congress Party (MCP) have taken the issue to court.

MCP supporters have also been protesting on the streets is some parts of the country.

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