22 May 2014

Malawi: JB Demands Manual Counting of Poll Results, Alleges of Massive Rigging

Lilongwe — President Dr. Joyce Banda Thursday demanded Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) to manually count all votes in order to have a free and fair election.

The President made the appeal at Kamuzu Palace in Lilongwe during press briefing alleging that this year's tripartite elections were characterized by massive rigging, saying some polling centres had more voters than the actual registered ones.

"I'm greatly concerned with the emerging picture witnessed after the polling day whereby we have seen gross and unwarranted allegations of rigging, misinformation and negative propaganda all aimed at undermining the credibility of the electoral process," President Banda said.

Banda also blamed the electoral body for 'serious' irregularities in the counting and announcement of results, saying the Constitution stipulates that the voting process is supposed to be conducted within a day. She explained that the Constitution was violated in the sense that the voting process went into a second day hence influencing the results in favour of the leading candidate.

"It has come to my attention that there were some serious irregularities in the counting and announcement of results in some parts of the country.

"These irregularities include non availability and non inspection of the voter registers at some polling centres; and using information technology to block communication devices of some monitors and thereby limiting the monitors' ability to effectively carry out their duties," she explained.

The President further blamed media in the country for continued announcing of poll results, saying this was tantamount to misinforming the general public on the true reflection of the poll results thereby creating a false impression of the possible winners.

"I'm also aware of the concerns that the continued announcements of the poll results from the votes cast on 20 May by the media could have influenced the voting that took place on the second day," she said.

The President urged Malawians from all divides to continue exercising co-existence during the elections period.

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