TNM plc and Airtel Malawi, the country’s integrated information and communications technology and mobile phone network operators, have distanced their networks from alleged rigging plots in the May 21 2019 Tripartite Elections.
In two separate notices issued yesterday, the two rivals spoke with one voice, stressing that their networks are safe, robust and secure and operate in compliance with the security and safety standards of its users.
The operators’ reactions come after President Peter Mutharika at the weekend issued a fresh warning against alleged but undisclosed plotters of vote rigging.
In a statement signed by its managing director Charles Kamoto, Airtel Malawi expressed worry over recent social media posts suggesting possible tampering with its networks. The company said the claims were false.
Reads the statement: “Airtel Malawi wants to reassure its customers that the integrity of the network is paramount to our commitment towards providing the best possible service, our network which is regularly updated is safe, secure and robust.”
TNM plc also highlighted that it is not involved in any plans to facilitate a rigging plot.
“As a regulated network operator in Malawi, TNM is not involved in any law breaking plans in any way. TNM would like to assure our subscribers and the general public that our network is safe to use and in compliant with the security and safety standards of its users,” reads the statement.
Vice-President Saulos Chilima, a former private sector executive who rose to the position of Airtel Malawi managing director before Mutharika picked him as running mate in the May 20 2014 Tripartite Elections, is on record as having accused the governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), he ditched last June, of plotting to rig the elections.
Chilima, who is presidential candidate for UTM Party launched last July, has stressed that no-one is capable of rigging an election. He said such claims are meant to discourage people from turning out to vote; hence, urged Malawians to ignore the claims and instead exercise their right to vote.
The finger-pointing between Mutharika and his estranged Vice-President prompted Malawi Congress Party (MCP) to demand more details on the alleged plot.
MCP has since written Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) to act on the allegations, but the electoral body has challenged those suspecting any rigging plots to bring forth evidence.
On Sunday, Mutharika once more alleged that some of his challengers had engaged nationals of Nigeria, Greece and Russia in a purported scheme to rig the election results using information and communications technology.