The Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) has issued a stern warning to some social service providers who are using voter identification cards as means of identification and has ordered them to cease the practice immediately as it is likely to affect the integrity of the electoral vote.
The Commission says it has reached on the decision based on numerous complaints stating that some unscrupulous persons are using voter identification cards for other means other than those of its intended purposes; this is contained in a press release released by the Commission and signed by Chairman Justice Maxon Mbendera.
In its communication, the Commission stresses that it is an offence to retain a voter certificate with the intention of excluding the owner from participating in the electoral process.
"The Commission is urging all registered voters to reclaim voter certificates that are not in their possession. Individuals and institutions in possession of voter certificates should return them to their rightful owners or surrender them to the Commission with immediate effect. Those persons who are having difficulty reclaiming their voter certificates should inform the Malawi Electoral Commission," reads the release in part.
The Commission further reassured the public that it is committed to ensuring that it retains the utmost integrity in the upcoming tripartite elections which are slated for May 20 this year.
"All stakeholders that have had their voter certificates taken will still be able to vote, if they are registered and can produce necessary documentation. The Commission will not entertain any voter certificates that were not issued at its designated centres," says the Commission.
The Electoral body has warned that all individuals who will be found in possession of cards not issued by the Commission will be prosecuted.