Chairperson of 10 opposition parties bloc Cassim Chilumpha has warned that the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) will be held liable to any disturbances that may arise from people’s dissatisfaction with MEC’s electoral management.
He issued the warning in an interview yesterday following MEC’s defiance to calls for the electoral body’s senior officials to step aside to pave the way for an independent forensic audit into the missing of electoral registration equipment.
Chilumpha, who is also the country’s former vice-president issued a statement on Tuesday calling for government to suspend MEC chairperson Jane Ansah and other senior officials to which MEC chief elections officer Sam Alfandika said the top brass would not stand down.
But Chilumpha said it was time for MEC to make sound decisions on the matter.
He said: “We are saying the matter raises questions that need to be addressed. The same MEC, through its chair for electoral services Jean Mathanga, confirmed ownership of the machines, but later disowned the machines.
“That is why we are asking them to pave the way for investigations. How can people trust an electoral body behaving this way to run elections?
Chilumpha then warned that MEC’s actions might backfire some day.
The theft of the biometric voter registration kit (BVRK) number 1962 has been mired in further controversy following a statement from Vale Logistics—owners of the coal train on which the machine was found—suggesting that the machine belongs to MEC.
In an emailed response on Wednesday, Vale Logistics communications manager Sheila Miquidade said: “Vale would like to clarify that the Malawi biometric registration kit, which was found abandoned on a pile of coal after unloading a train at the Nacala Velha Port in Mozambique, was returned to the relevant authority, the Malawi Electoral Commission.”
In a statement signed by Alfandika issued on Wednesday, MEC dismissed calls for the top MEC officials—including himself subject and Mathanga—to step aside for the investigations.
MEC claimed the issues had been addressed through the National Elections Consultative Forum.