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Some want to rig polls—Mec

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By Mandy Pondani:

Elections

Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) Electoral Services Committee Chairperson, Jean Mathanga, has claimed that some politicians want to tamper with the polling and result transmission system for the May 21 Tripartite Elections, but the commission is alert.

In an interview Tuesday, Mathanga warned political parties against diverting people’s attention from the elections by perpetuating reports that the elections would be rigged.

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“There is a politician who has been going to town claiming that there is a rigging machine that was brought into the country. We called him to help us in tracing the machine and investigating the syndicate, but he never turned up.

“We know that that is work of those who would really want to tamper [with] and disturb our system, but we are not sitting down. We have put in place measures that will help in securing the votes,” Mathanga said.

She has also trashed reports making rounds that National Intelligence Bureau (NIB) has been pressing the commission to reveal technicalities of its wireless messaging system.

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Mathanga said Mec has been interacting with information technology (IT) experts from all political parties contesting in the elections and independent candidates to keep them abreast of issues regarding polling and result transmission.

“On polling equipment, there is no way we can work with stakeholders who are not directly involved in the elections, like the NIB, as it is being reported. If anything, we are working with IT experts from all parties. We have met them twice and taken them through our system. Of course, we cannot let every piece of information bare but at least they appreciate how we are going to manage the results,” Mathanga said.

She said Mec expects the IT experts from the parties to help demystify the rigging claims, which, she noted, could scare some voters and water down the credibility of the elections.

Mec’s sentiments come in the wake of claims by Democratic Progressive Party torchbearer Peter Mutharika and his UTM counterpart Saulos that some people want to rig the elections.

Recently, Mutharika claimed that some politicians want to bring to Malawi a machine and people from India, Russia and Nigeria to help rig the elections.

A few days later, Immigration Department announced that nationals from Nigeria, India and Russia would only be granted visas in Malawi after being scrutinised by personnel at the department’s headquarters.

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