The Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) has assured Malawians that ballot papers for tomorrow’s tripartite elections are safe despite concerns about possible tampering.
The concern came after an electricity blackout on Friday the time ballot papers were being distributed, and some sections of society feared the blackout was a deliberate ploy to tamper with the papers.
Addressing a press conference in Blantyre, MEC chairperson Justice Maxon Mbendera said there was no need to panic as everything was under control.
“Issues were raised [on Friday] as regards their [ballot papers] safety. I am glad to report that they have arrived safely in all the councils. Each council has identified a secure warehouse where we have placed armed security for 24 hours,” said Mbendera.
He said ballot papers have several anti-counterfeit security features such as anti-copy watermarks, ultra-violet marks and micro-print which makes it difficult to forge.
There was another concern about MEC facing a shortfall of about 25 vehicles for its distribution activities.
Mbendera said government has allowed MEC to hire vehicles that would be used for carrying non-sensitive materials.
He described the campaign period as violent-free, saying the Goliati incident where a police officer and a civilian died, happened before the official campaign period.
Mbendera also announced that people in the diaspora will not vote as no arrangement has been put in place for them, describing the process as expensive.
The European Union (EU), Commonwealth, African Union (AU), Southern African Development Community (Sadc), Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa), Zimbabwe Electoral Support Network, Nigeria and Zimbabwe High Commissions and local organisations are monitoring the election.