22 May 2014

Malawi: MEC Resorts to Manual Counting of Poll Results

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Blantyre — Contrary to the expected computerised system that Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) introduced, Blantyre Tally Centre resorted to the old way of analysing results manually after the new system was very slow.

Since the results started coming on the mid-night of the May 20, the system had passed results from two tally centres and rejected most of them as inconclusive.

The Chief Executive Officer for Blantyre, Ted Nandolo, in an interview with Malawi News Agency (Mana) said they decided to count the results manually because time was running out.

"The processing of the results was very slow which prompted us to seek advice from MEC who advised that we could record it manually if the monitors agree," Nandolo said.

He said the information would still more be punched into the computers for analysis.

"We still need the computers for our data to feed into the national results. We are doing this for the sake of speeding up the agreement of the results and also to enable people to go back to their respective homes because they have been here for more than 24 hours," he said.

Nandolo, however, did not know why the computers were not working.

"I'm not sure what the problem is with the computers, but it's extremely slow. They (MEC staff) have not been able to explain what is wrong," Nandolo said.

The Chief Executive Officer said they were not worried that as a district, they have not yet been able to give any results to MEC when most councils have declared the winners.

"We want to make sure that our results should not leave any doubts in anybody's mind. We have to make sure that the results are agreeable by everybody who is here," explained Nandolo.

Voting in Blantyre has been characterised by several challenges that mushroomed from unavailability of voting materials at most centres that led to some voters protesting heavily by destroying property.

As such, some centres were opened for voting again on May 21 but some still failed to do the exercise because the voting materials were not ready and will vote on may 22.

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