The Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) has agreed with electoral stakeholders that all the votes in the May 20 Tripartite Elections be recounted to resolve glaring irregularities that have been discovered during tallying.
Commissioner Emmanuel Chinkwita Phiri told a press conference last night that that the recounting will go hand in hand with the ongoing tallying exercise at the national tally centre in Blantyre.
“Although the commission will be opening the ballot boxes for a recount, it will not abandon the current vote counting exercise. This will be pursued to the end, but the results will not be announced until the vote recount outcome is known and compared with [the current one’s results],” said Chinkwita Phiri.
He said the agreement with the stakeholders, including the leading political parties—Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), Malawi Congress Party (MCP), the People’s Party and United Democratic Front (UDF)—was reached during a meeting convened earlier yesterday.
“During the meeting, the commission reported that in the course of vote tallying, there are cases being discovered where the total number of votes cast is more than the total registered voters for the centre.
“It has been agreed with the political parties that this can be resolved by opening the ballot boxes and doing a physical audit,” said Chinkwita Phiri.
The commission and the parties are scheduled to meet at 2pm today to finalise the logistics for the exercise, which will be held in the cities of Mzuzu, Lilongwe and Blantyre.
“MEC commissioners and managers will oversee the process from the side of MEC. Political parties have also committed to ensure that there will be quality monitors and high level representation during the exercise,” he said.
The electoral law expects the commission to announce the results of an election eight days after the final vote is cast.
Today is the sixth day since Malawians voted in the first ever tripartite election.
Chinkwita Phiri said the commission will seek counting time extension using relevant provisions of the law once the eight-day window expires.
“We are hoping that the exercise will not exceed a month,” he said.
He explained that so far, MEC has captured results of about 2 759 centres of the 4 445 nationwide.
UDF spokesperson Ken Ndanga applauded MEC for deciding to recount the votes.
“That is the most sober decision any independent electoral body would make considering the magnitude of the irregularities that have been detected in most polling centers across the country,” he said.
But DPP spokesperson Nicholas Dausi, who held a press conference at the tall centre soon after Chinkwita Phiri’s, distance his party from MEC’s decision.
He said DPP did not agree to the recount because it does not believe the security of the ballot boxes after voting is guaranteed, adding that recounting should only have been done MEC announced official figure.