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VOTER CERTIFICATES SCANDAL: Mec fires staff

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By Yohane Symon & Feston Malekezo:

Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) has fired its member of staff following last week’s discovery in Mangochi District of voter registration certificates belonging to 751 people of Lilongwe Msinja-North Constituency.

Mec Chairperson, Jane Ansah, on Saturday said the temporary staff “mistakenly” printed the certificates. One of them has been fired while the second, Thema 1 Primary School Head teacher—who was the centre supervisor— has been barred from working for Mec in relation to the tripartite elections.

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Ansah said one of the temporary workers is in police custody for questioning.

“We came to know about who was at Msinje from our investigations team. From there, we reported the matter to police.

“So far, what this Mec temporary member of staff has told us is that he made a mistake. During the verification exercise, he was printing the certificates for everybody who came to verify. But when he noted that he made a mistake, he intended to give the certificates to Mec. Before he could do that, he was tasked to go to Mangochi for phase three,” she said.

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Ansah said, after the temporary staff had finished work in Mangochi, he forgot the bag which contained the certificates.

“When the supervisor of the centre saw the bag and the envelope, he took the certificate to officials of MCP [Malawi Congress Party]. It was there now that the party official took pictures of the certificates and uploaded them on social media before asking us.

“So, what we have done is to fire this temporary Mec employee and hand him over to police. The supervisor has also been fired because, he showed that he has some interests in a particular party because instead of giving us the voter certificates, he took them to a political party,” she said.

Mec publicist, Sangwani Mwafulirwa, further said the commission has directed that Thema 1 Headteacher should no longer take part in electoral work for the 2019 elections due to his conduct.

National Police spokesperson, James Kadadzera, Sunday confirmed that they are investigating the matter.

Earlier, MCP and Malawi Electoral Support Network asked Mec to swiftly investigate the matter as it risks compromising the May 21 elections.

Malawi Human Rights Commission has also swiftly moved in to probe the matter.

Mec has since assured Malawians that everything is under control.

The electoral scandal comes amid unresolved issue concerning the theft of Mec biometric voter registration kits which were found on a coal train in Mozambique.

 

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