Election results glitches haunt MEC

 

Glitches in the transmission of results in the 2019 Tripartite Elections spilled over to the second day yesterday.

Lower Shire districts of Chikwawa and Nsanje were among areas where late transmission of results was recorded and nearly caused an uproar.

As at 1pm Wednesday, there were no results submitted to the district tally centre in Chikwawa due to what district commissioner (DC) Lusizi Nhlane called inadequate training in results management systems.

Some election materials being delivered to Chikwawa Nkombezi tally centre

Polling staff, monitors and security officers were seen moving  ballot boxes and other stationery in a number of the district’s six constituency tally centres after being asked to balance the figures against given ballot papers and voters roll figures.

He said: “The major challenge here has been the failure by polling staff to reconcile the figures as per guidelines from the electoral body. Some results were not matching with registration figures and number of ballots that they had collected.”

The DC partly attributed this to inadequate training of polling staff but said the council had deployed some technicians to overcome the challenges.

Malawians went to the polls on Tuesday this week where they elected members of Parliament, ward councillors and a president.

Meanwhile a member of the European Union (EU) Observer Team, Lars Fordal, said the mission was impressed with the conduct of the elections, its mandate was  to weave a technical report that would help address challenges in future elections.

Said Fordal: “We are compiling a technical report that would seek to identify gaps such as training of electoral staff and results management.”

Frustrated monitors and other officials had gathered at tally centres in the district such as Nkombezi, Chikwawa Central, North and South.

The delays had not spared Nsanje District with DC Michael Chimbalanga attributing delays in Nsanje South, South West and Central constituencies to accessibility problems there.

But some sources at Nsanje District Council said the problem was exacerbated by lack of fuel at the council to send vehicles to transport results.

A statement from Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC)  stated that the commission would follow all the guidelines in the electoral management system.

It partly reads: “There can be no errors in the candidate section of the result sheet and these must add up to the total valid votes cast. The number of ballots issued cannot be zero.”

Meanwhile, presiding officers in the Eastern Region yesterday blamed MEC for errors that delayed the electoral results in some districts, saying the electoral body did not provide adequate training to electoral officers.

The blame follows errors recorded in most polling centres where presiding officers failed to match individual votes with the total number of votes cast.

The most affected districts were Mangochi and Machinga where by 6pm Wednesday, there was no single constituency with full results.

When The Nation visited some tally centres in the two districts yesterday, constituency returning officers were seen rejecting results due to figures not tallying.

 

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