MCP faults MEC on election complaints

Malawi Congress Party (MCP) has faulted Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC)’s claim that only UTM Party lodged official complaints over irregularities in the May 21 Tripartite Elections results management, saying the party too fine its complaints.

During a press briefing yesterday, MEC chairperson Jane Ansah told journalists at the main tally centre at Comesa Hall in Blantyre that only UTM Party lodged an official complaint on the presidential election.

Ansah: We only heard from UTM

She was responding to questions on whether the electoral body’s move to have an injunction granted to the MCP lifted was irrespective of the complaints the party had submitted to the commission for redress.

Said Ansah: “We acknowledged a complaint that was forwarded by the UTM [Party] on the presidential ballot relating to the omission of about 400 votes for its presidential candidate in Mzuzu City. We promptly moved to address that anomaly. Apart from that, we are not aware of any other complaints. In the absence of such complaints, we are under the assumption that everyone is satisfied with the results.”

But immediately after the media briefing, MCP secretary general Eisenhower Mkaka described Ansah’s remarks as unfortunate.

He showed The Nation a copy of 11 complaints his party submitted to MEC on May 23 2019, which were duly signed by MEC director of legal affairs David Banda as evidence of receipt.

Said Mkaka: “We are very surprised that the whole MEC chairperson does not want to acknowledge that we have followed all due processes to register our complaints as stipulated by the law.

“What I can say is that only MEC officials know why they are playing games with us. Our seeking legal redress was only after we noted that there was no willingness to address the concerns that we raised.”

Among the 11 complaints raised by the MCP are claims that presidential votes for MCP candidate Lazarus Chakwera were swapped with what Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) presidential candidate Peter Mutharika got.

MCP also claims that results sheets for Mulanje District were tampered with, and that results for one of the constituencies in the same district were not tallied at constituency level before they were handed over to the district tally centre.

The party on Saturday obtained a court injunction restraining MEC from announcing presidential poll results, citing irregularities in the management of results in over 10 districts nationwide.

It further requested a recount of ballot papers in the affected districts which include Blantyre, Rumphi, Chitipa, Nkhata Bay, Nsanje, Chikwawa, Mangochi, Zomba, Karonga, and Mulanje.

The High Court in Lilongwe yesterday reserved its ruling on an application by MEC to lift the injunction that was granted to the MCP, which could pave the way for the announcement of the presidential poll results. The move by the MCP forced MEC to only announce parliamentary poll results on Saturday.

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