The first batch of ballot papers for the May 21 Tripartite Elections will start arriving in the country today through Kamuzu International Airport (KIA) in Lilongwe, with the rest arriving tomorrow.
In a statement issued yesterday and signed by chief elections officer Sam Alfandika, Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) states that the first batch will comprise ballot papers for the Local Government Elections and half of Parliamentary Elections while the second batch will have the remaining Parliamentary and presidential ballot papers.
Reads the statement in part: “Political parties are, therefore, invited to send their monitors to witness the receipt and warehousing process of the ballot papers. MEC will provide special accreditation for such monitors and they will be the only ones authorised to be present during this exercise.”
The ballot papers, which will be kept at a warehouse at KIA, are expected to be dispatched to all respective councils this Thursday.
MEC director of media and public relations Sangwani Mwafulirwa confirmed in an interview yesterday all the ballot papers will arrive today and tomorrow.
Earlier in March this year, MEC refuted a fake presidential ballot paper that was circulating on social media, saying the sample was not theirs.
Meanwhile, MEC has also released a final list of presidential candidates and their running mates as well as Parliamentary and Local Government Elections candidates.
The presidential candidates, seven in total, include Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) president Peter Mutharika and his running mate Everton Chimulirenji; UTM Party president Saulos Chilima and his running mate Michael Usi as well as United Democratic Front (UDF) president Atupele Muluzi and his running mate Frank Mwenifumbo.
Others include Umodzi Party’s (UP) John Chisi and his running mate Timothy Kamulete; Independent candidate Revelend Kaliya and his running mate Mabvuto Ng’ona and Mbakuwaku Movement for Development (MMD) president Peter Kuwani and his running mate Archibald Kalawang’oma.
In the parliamentary elections, there are 1 329 candidates while in the Local Government Elections, there are 2 694 candidates.
During the commission’s National Elections Consultative Forum (Necof) in Blantyre two weeks ago, MEC chairperson Justice Jane Ansah said MEC has so far concluded most preparations for the elections.
Ansah, however, said the only irregularity is the missing of pictures of some voters on the voters’ register that cannot be traced in the National Registration Bureau (NRB) database.
“However, those should not despair; they will vote as long as their names are in the register,” she assured.