Two of the three Football Association of Malawi (FAM) presidential aspirants Wilkins Mijiga and Willy Yabwanya Phiri have cried foul over the confidentiality surrounding the December 12 elections voters’ roll.
The two candidates have accused FAM electoral committee of hiding the names of delegates to the elective general assembly while they allege that incumbent president Walter Nyamilandu has access to the list.
Spokesperson for Mijiga, Ernest Maganga, said hiding the list was against the spirit of democracy.
“We are even struggling to campaign because people are afraid,” Maganga said. “Any person discovered to be talking to opposition risks being removed from the list. That’s why they can’t release the names of voters.”
Yabwanya Phiri also accused FAM electoral committee of lacking transparency and failing to level the playing field.
“If in Malawi general elections a list of millions of registered voters is released to the opposition for inspection, why should FAM hide 36 names of delegates to the general assembly? That’s unacceptable,” Yabwanya Phiri said.
“The best practice was to publicise the voters’ roll just like they did with the candidates’ list. Otherwise, any attempt to withhold the list obviously means they want only those that are already in FAM executive committee to have access to it and for the obvious reasons.”
Vice-presidency candidate Tiya Somba-Banda also took a swipe at FAM for deliberately trying to give other candidates an added advantage by hiding the voters’ roll.
“The principle of football is fair play and it is strange that the authorities are failing to live by this principle,” Somba-Banda said.
“We can’t have a transparent election when the voters’ roll is a secret.”
However, FAM general secretary Suzgo Nyirenda said they are not obliged to publish the names of the delegates to the general assembly.
“Kindly read Article 22 of FAM statutes and show me where they say the delegates list has to be sent to the candidates. The delegates list is there to assist FAM to do accreditation and for logistical matters.
“The electoral commitee will be given the list once we verify with the delegates names and photos with each affiliate. All correspondence will be direct to each affiliate as it has been since we started with a notice,” Nyirenda said in an e-mail response. n