Results—both official and unofficial—of Tuesday’s fresh presidential election started trickling in at the national tally centre in Blantyre yesterday with 10 of the country’s 28 districts submitting to Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) final processing.
MEC chairperson Chifundo Kachale only announced official results for Likoma District which indicate that Malawi Congress Party (MCP) president Lazarus Chakwera leading Tonse Alliance amassed 2 981 votes, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) president Peter Mutharika got 1 692 and Mbakuwaku Movement for Development (MMD) torchbearer Peter Kuwani got 37.
Initially, Mutharika had 1 690 votes from Likoma, but the MEC chairperson said two votes were added to his tally after a review of null and void votes.
The Likoma results reflected a growing trend of low voter turnout as 4 730 of the 7 050 registered voters exercised their right to vote, meaning that 2 320 abdicated their role in the polls.
During last evening’s briefing, Kachale mentioned the districts whose results are in as Likoma—whose results were flown in by Malawi Defence Force chopper, Blantyre, Chikwawa, Chiradzulu, Phalombe, Mulanje, Mwanza, Zomba, Balaka and Nsanje.
He said the commission appreciated the importance of releasing the final results, but they would do everything possible to ensure the exercise is not done at the expense of legality of the process and quality controls.
Said Kachale: “Where the public feels that we are not moving at a faster pace than expected, our appeal is that you should be patient and understand that the commission does not wish to be faulted on procedure and legality.”
In line with Section 113 of the Parliamentary and Presidential Elections Act (PPEA), the commission also reviewed and determined 201 electoral complaints entered in the logbook in Chiradzulu, Likoma and Mwanza districts.
Kachale said Chiradzulu recorded 122 electoral complaints, Likoma 12 and Mwanza had 67 which “were all satisfactorily resolved”, but the commission was yet to finalise the same in other districts.
At the national tally centre, MEC also received a complaint from the DPP-UDF alliance alleging that its party representatives in some parts of Lilongwe were hacked and assaulted and their vehicle torched by MCP-and UTM functionaries.
Kachale said the commission was expected to meet over the complaints before communicating its determination to the complainant.
Meanwhile, the MEC chairperson also disclosed that Chakwera has withdrawn the case against four commissioners—Arthur Nanthuru, Steve Duwa, Jean Mathanga and Linda Kunje—in which he was granted leave to commence judicial review proceedings to review their appointments.
While confirming the development in an interview, MCP secretary general Eisenhower Mkaka said the withdrawal did not mean Chakwera was in agreement with how the four commissioners were appointed because the law was violated.
Results from 32 out of 33 constituencies in the Northern Region’s six districts with a collective 930 889 registered voters show that Chakwera got 494 681 votes, Mutharika had 68 449 and Kuwani 6 554.
In Mzimba, the unofficial results show Chakwera has 265 655 votes from 11 constituencies tabulated, including Mzuzu City. Results for Mzimba West Constituency were yet to trickle in at the district tally centre as we went to press.
Results displayed at the Mzimba district tally centre show that Mutharika has 24 726 votes while Kuwani has 2 630 votes.
In Mangochi, results at the district tally centre from the 12 constituencies show that Mutharika amassed 195 531 votes against 33 293 for Chakwera and 2 630 for Kuwani. There were 5 205 null and void votes in Mangochi from the 236 659 votes cast. Mangochi has 398 902 registered voters.
Security by Malawi Police Service and MDF was tightened yesterday at the national tally centre as officers thoroughly searched each vehicle at two check-points.
Some photojournalists who attempted to take pictures of trucks bringing results were also forced to delete the images by MDF soldiers. The journalists took the pictures from the balcony of the sports complex.
Deputy Commissioner of Police Noel Kayira who responded that they were aware they were dealing with a sensitive issue.
He said where necessary, they would be limiting the freedom of the media, but asked the journalists to approach their offices at the national tally centre when they have a complaint.
Additional reporting by ELTON MHANGO and AYAMBA KANDODO, Correspondents