Parliament says it will scrutinise and verify all June 23 2020 fresh presidential election materials which Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) has started depositing with the National Assembly.
Deputy Clerk of Parliament Chikondi Kachinjika, who is responsible for corporate services, said in an interview on Tuesday that MEC started depositing electoral materials in Lilongwe on Tuesday and that the exercise is expected to conclude at the weekend.
But he said all materials will be verified, region by region, for proper documentation of what has been received and what has not been received.
Said Kachinjika: “We have begun receiving materials and we expect the exercise to continue until Saturday. It is an on-going process. Verification will be done region by region but at the moment we cannot tell what we have received because we are still off loading.”
The materials, which were placed under Malawi Defence Force security escort, include the voters’ register, ballot papers and record books.
Section 119 of the Parliamentary and Presidential Elections (PPE) Act mandates the Clerk of Parliament to safely store used election materials for a period of 12 months after an election. This means materials being deposited will be kept until May 23 next year.
The Section reads: “At the end of its functions, the Commission shall deposit all documents forming the official record of an election (including voters’ registers, ballot papers, records from districts and polling stations and summaries thereof and the record and summary of the national result) with the Clerk of Parliament who shall retain and preserve such documents in safe and secure custody without destruction for a period of twelve months.”
In his remarks, on the start of the exercise, MEC chairperson Justice Chifundo Kachale confirmed that the ballot materials include a summary of results, record books and ballot papers.
During hearing of the disputed presidential elections results, a five-member High Court panel of judges—comprising justices Dingiswayo Madise, Healey Potani, Ivy Kamanga, Mike Tembo and Redson Kapindu—criticised MEC officials of lying that they had deposited the May 21 2019 Tripartite Elections materials to Parliament.
MEC failed to produce log books and other materials which they said were deposited to the Clerk of Parliament, a development which partly swayed the judges to nullify the May 21 2019 presidential election.
Democratic Progressive Party and former president Peter Mutharika, Malawi Congress Party President Lazarus Chakwera, who led the Tonse Alliance, and Mbakuwaku Movement for Development leader Peter Kuwani contested in the court-sanctioned fresh presidential race.