Malawi News Agency (Lilongwe)

20 May 2014

Malawi: Chaos At Polling Stations in Blantyre As MEC Fails to Start in Time

Photo: MESN
Supporters of different political parties mingle

Blantyre — There was chaos at most Polling Stations in Blantyre as people had not yet started voting as late as 10:30 am due to inadequate materials at the centers.

A visit to the Blantyre Tax Office, Nkolokoti Primary School, Ndirande Community Hall and Catholic Institute Primary School Polling Stations indicated that they had not started the voting exercise by 11:00 am which prompted unrests.

At Ndirande Community Hall, the centre was closed after the tear gas fired by the Police to the protestors did not work.

"We don't want to be taken for granted. We are in Blantyre where the headquarters of Malawi Electoral Commission is and how is it possible for the office not to supply us with materials up to this hour," said one protestor who refused to be named.

The angry protestants burned down the tents and some of the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) materials at the site.

After which, the protestants proceeded to Namalimwe Primary School, which is close by, where people were voting peacefully but they destroyed the casted votes and dispatched the voters.

"We are all Malawians and should be treated equally. Our friends can't be given the chance to vote and leave us out. For what reason? Its either we vote or nobody votes," said a participant to the riots who refused to give his name.

At Catholic Institute, the uncontrolled voters blocked the roads around the school with leafs and burned tyres such that vehicles were not able to pass through.

A visit to most of the centers indicated that none in Blantyre started at 6.00 am as they were characterized by shortage of one material to the other that ranged from unavailability or inadequate ink, casting boxes, seal tapes, ballot box seals and stationary.

At Namalimwe Primary School where they started the voting exercise after 9.00 am, The Poling Centre Supervisor refused to comment on the uproar.

"I can't talk to you. Call the Constituency Retaining Officer or District Education Manager if you want my comment," said Litness Makaka who is the head teacher of Ndirande Matope Full Primary School.

Malawi Electoral Commission Publicist, Sangwani Mwafulirwas did not pick up Mana phone call when contacted to comment.

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