Parties ‘shun’ballots arrival

Despite being major stakeholders in the electoral process, political parties and Independent candidates shunned verification of arrival of ballot papers for the Tuesday May 21 tripartite elections in Mzuzu on Friday.

Parties have since said they shunned the exercise after waiting in vain on Thursday, a day they were communicated to for arrival of the materials.

An MDF truck arrives with ballot papers at Mzuzu civic offices

Instead, the boxes arrived on Friday due to breakdown of vehicles on the way to Mzuzu.

When MEC officials called political parties to help in checking the boxes, no one showed up.

Witnessing arrival of the materials were journalists from various media houses, Mzuzu City Council officials, police, Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) officials, civil society members and other stakeholders.

However, the boxes which arrived at around 12 noon in an MDF vehicle could not be taken off the vehicle as there was not enough man power or machinery to take the boxes down to verify serial numbers as well as number of boxes.

MEC officials tried to reason with stakeholders if they could dismantle the boxes but MDF, which is providing security, was against the idea.

Other stakeholders, including civil society organisations (CSOs) sided with the MDF officers.

Mzuzu Civil Society Network governance chairperson Peter Mumba faulted the parties for shunning the exercise.

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) governor for the North, Kenneth Sanga, who is also the party’s aspirant for Mzuzu City Constituency said they expected the ballots on Thursday, and not Friday.

However, Sanga said the party had hope that the ballots were in safe hands.

Malawi Congress Party (MCP) and UTM leadership in the region could not be reached for comment, as they were reportedly attending to campaign rallies.

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