Unofficial election results compiled by Zodiak Broadcasting Station (ZBS) tips DPP presidential candidate Peter Mutharika to win the presidential race with a narrow margin.
Should the results be confirmed by the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC), the only authority with the legal mandate to officially announce electoral outcomes in Malawi, Mutharika will become the country’s fifth Head of State.
According to Zodiak, a private radio accredited by MEC to cover the polls, Mutharika got 1 789 364 votes followed by Malawi Congress Party (MCP) candidate Lazarus Chakwera who polled 1 387 500 votes.
People’s Party candidate Joyce Banda got 1 042 686 votes, while Atupele Muluzi of the United Democratic Front (UDF) got 665 819 votes.
Mutharika’s personal assistant Ben Phiri welcomed the unofficial results, expressing the confidence that they will not be different from what MEC will announce.
“If you check with many tally centres, you will see that they have made the same findings,” said Phiri, appealing to the supporters of his party to remain calm as they wait for MEC to make the official announcement.
But PP’s spokesperson Ken Msonda dismissed the outcome, saying it was premature and misleading.
“We don’t welcome the announcement because it shields the anomalies that compromise the credibility of this election,” said Msonda. “Unless our complaints are addressed, we will not welcome any result.”
MEC chairperson Maxon Mbendera said at a press briefing yesterday morning that the commission will not be hurried to announce the results.
“When we reach 30 percent of the national results, we will announce those preliminary results,” said Mbendera. “We will ensure that we are exact and that every complaint received is addressed and resolved.”
He said as at 8 o’clock in the morning yesterday MEC had captured over 12 percent of polling centres into its system, adding that the commission was expanding its staff and facilities at the National Tally Centre to further speed up data entry.
“From this point forward, we will prioritise entry of presidential results. As the day progresses, we will continue to provide results to political party monitors for verification,” he said.
According to Mbendera, the commission had received about 135 complaints as at yesterday morning and was considering each and everyone.
“The MEC Complaint Handling Unit has already contacted back most of those that have submitted the complaints,” said Mbendera. “Those that have not yet been contacted back will be contacted soon.”
Meanwhile, reports from the Malawi Electoral Support Network (Mesn) observers using a representative random sample of polling stations across the country show that the turnout for the 2014 Tripartite Elections was approximately 70 percent down from 72 pecent in 2009.
In a statement issued in Blantyre yesterday, Mesn said as part of its comprehensive effort to observe the elections, it deployed Parallel Vote Tabulation (PVT) observers to a representative random sample of 800 polling stations, representing more than 1.3 million registered voters, located across all three regions, all 28 districts and all 193 constituencies.
In addition to documenting the conduct of the set-up, voting and counting processes, Mesn’s PVT observers recorded the official results as announced by MEC presiding officers.
Said the Mesn statement: “Based on these reports, Mesn can report with 99 percent confidence that the official turnout rate for the 2014 presidential election will be between 68.7 percent and 72.5 percent and the percentage of null and void ballots will be between 1.4 percent and 2.0 percent.”
Mesn called on the nation to remain calm and for all political parties and candidates to behave responsibly.
“While there have been problems, these have not yet fundamentally undermined the credibility of the process,” Mesn said.
The organisation called upon MEC to communicate regularly and frequently to help keep the Malawian people informed about the tallying process.
“We also appeal to MEC to consider releasing results as they are verified to enhance transparency and build confidence,” said the statement.
Meanwhile, development partners have issued a statement in which they have appealed to all stakeholders, especially political parties, to support the commission as it finalises the electoral process.
The statement has been endorsed by the British High Commission, the Delegation of the European Union to Malawi, the Embassy of Ireland, the Embassy of the Kingdom of Norway, the Embassy of the United States of America and the United Nations system in Malawi.
Reads the statement: “We appeal to all, in particular the political parties, to support the Malawi Electoral Commission and its chair at this critical stage in the electoral process.” “We take note of the commitments made for acceptance of results and urge all to stay calm throughout the electoral process to ensure that the voice of the Malawian electorate is heard,” it reads.
The development partners have commended Malawians for turning out in large numbers to vote in the tripartite elections and appealed for continued patience and calm as MEC is completing the tallying of the results.
They also expressed concern over the decision by government through Malawi Broadcasting Corporation board of directors chairperson Evans Namanja to send director General Benson Tembo on forced leave which was later reversed by a High Court order obtained by well-wishers.
The statement further says the development partners welcome the commitment by major electoral stakeholders to give MEC the space, time and support needed to complete the tallying process in a transparent manner and with accuracy.