By Jameson Chauluka and Mabvuto Banda:
Police are investigating how and why a biometric voter registration machine being used in the ongoing voter registration exercise has been found on a train coming from Mozambique, a revelation likely to spark fears of electoral rigging
National Police spokesperson, James Kadadzera, confirmed the ongoing investigations but declined to shed more details.
“Mec [Malawi Electoral Commission] should be in a position to give more details.
“I can confirm that we are investigating the matter after Mec reported that the biometric voter registration kit has been found on a train coming from Mozambique,” Kadadzera said.
The kit comprises a laptop, which stores voter data, a finger print scanner and a camera. Any damage or loss of the kit could potentially disenfranchise registered voters for the May elections.
People’s Party (PP) was quick to react Thursday, saying development confirms their fears of possible rigging next year.
“This is proof the reports of rigging which other stakeholders have been talking about are true,” PP secretary general, Ibrahim Matola, said
Main opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) also said they feared a rigged vote next year.
“How did the kit find itself in Mozambique? How can we be sure that the equipment was not being used for registering Mozambicans to vote instead of Malawians?” MCP director of strategy, Ken Zikhale Ng’oma, wondered.
He implored police to get to the bottom of the issue as well as Mec to explain how the kit went missing.
Mec Director of Media and Communication, Sangwani Mwafulirwa, while confirming the development, insisted that no important data was lost.
“The kit went missing in transit from Lilongwe to Mwanza. We are surprised to be informed that the kit had been found in Mozambique on a train.
“There is no loss of data. The issue is in the hands of the police,” Mwafulirwa said.
Last month, Assistant District Registrar at the National Registration Bureau, Winston Kalambo, disclosed that Mozambicans were beating the system and registering for the National ID in their numbers in Mulanje District. The ID is the only document being used for registering voters.
The NRB official said that the illegal registration was rampant in Mulanje South East Constituency which borders Mozambique.
District Commissioner for Mulanje, Charles Makanga also confirmed the development in the said areas, accusing chiefs of assisting Mozambicans to obtain the national ID.
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