Three major political parties contesting in the May 21 Tripartite Elections say their confidence in Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) has been boosted following the transparent arrival of the first batch of ballot papers yesterday.
The papers arrived through Kamuzu International Airport (KIA) in Lilongwe amid heavy security by Malawi Defence Force (MDF) soldiers who were deployed in strategic corners within Air Cargo building precincts.
An Emirates cargo aeroplane landed at KIA at 11.45am and the ejecting of 28 palates of ballot papers immediately started under the watch of political party representatives and observers.
Malawi Congress Party (MCP), UTM Party and Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) officials said in separate interviews that MEC displayed a high level of commitment to ensure that the elections next Tuesday are held in a fair, credible and transparent manner.
UTM Party deputy director of elections Bright Kawaga said in an interview at the airport all MEC processes, including yesterday’s arrival of ballot papers, have impressed the newest registered party.
Said Kawaga: “Let me say that from the first time that MEC launched the calendar for elections, we have been following it as UTM Party. We took part in the printing of ballots. What we saw from the printing process convinced us that MEC has done a very good job.”
He also hailed the deployment of the MDF soldiers to provide security at the warehouse and other centres.
On his part, MCP member Richard Chapweteka also expressed confidence that the elections will be conducted fairly following the transparent manner in which the final stages of elections are being run.
He said: “We also witnessed the printing, including the packaging and how they were warehoused in Dubai. We are impressed with what has happened so far, including the security put in place to ensure that nobody tampers with the ballot. We have confidence in MEC.”
DPP director of elections Ben Phiri also hailed MEC for ensuring that all processes are done in a transparent manner.
He said : “We are excited and we are looking forward to the voting day. The availability of high security and CCTV cameras, shows a high level of transparency.”
According to MEC chairperson Jane Ansah, an MDF platoon (30 soldiers) will be guarding the warehouse at the airport until May 16 when distribution to councils will start.
Among other electoral stakeholders who witnessed the arrival of ballot papers include the European Union (EU) Observers Mission team, National Initiative for Civic Education Trust director Ollen Mwalubunju, the African Union Observer Mission team and monitors from political parties contesting in the upcoming polls.
The second and last batch of ballot papers is expected to arrive today.