Malawi Congress Party (MCP) has complained of political meddling in the Mchinji West by-elections, accusing governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) of intimidation and interference.
MCP has since reported the matter to the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) and office of Mchinji district commissioner (DC).
Speaking soon after presenting the complaint to the DC, MCP director of elections Maxwell Thyolera told The Nation that MCP noticed that some DPP officials were putting on MEC regalia and badges instead of local monitor badges and regalia.
MCP singled out the Vice-President’s personal assistant Moses Kuchingale as he was spotted at three centres, namely Mchinji Community Day Secondary School, Mchinji Secondary School and at Kamwendo Trading Centre wearing MEC regalia.
“People would not have differentiated the DPP officials with the MEC officials technically giving them access to some areas which they were not supposed to. This is not allowed in any election,” he said.
Thyolera said the matter was reported to MEC presiding officers at the centres where the DPP officials were spotted and that at one point there was a scuffle between the VP’s personal assistant and MCP legislator Richard Chimwendo Banda.
He said, in response to the scuffle, DPP officials, led by secretary general Ecklen Kudontoni started hunting for Chimwendo Banda, an allegation that Kudontoni has scoffed off.
“They are just politicking. There was nothing like that,” he said.
In his response, Kuchingale, while admitting the scuffle with Chimwendo Banda, said he did not put on MEC official regalia since he knew MEC’s position concerning what to wear when monitoring elections.
Mchinji DC Richard Hara said he heard that the matter was reported to MEC and that they are waiting for the commission to make a decision.
Mchinji police officer in charge Maximus Thomson Bakali said the police were investigating the matter.
Despite the scuffle and fears of voter apathy, the election is said to have been conducted smoothly.n