5 July 2014

Malawi: MEC to Conduct Vote Recount in Lilongwe City South East

Blantyre — The High Court in Blantyre has ordered the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) to do vote recounting in Lilongwe City South East Constituency after one candidate who lost in the previous elections applied to the court for the same.

The candidate, Ulemu Msungama was contesting for the parliamentary seat on a Malawi Congress Party ticket in the constituency.

But MEC declared Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Bentley Namasasu the winner for the constituency during the announcement of the official results.

MEC's Chairperson Justice Maxon Mbendera SC confirmed to have been served with the court order and that Tuesday next week, the electoral body is scheduled to do the vote recounting.

"As you know, the commission established complaint units in the just ended elections with funding from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) managed basket fund for prompt legal advice and opinion to the commission on matters that required such service.

"To date the unit has handled 360 complaints in various categories like campaign related, counting, arithmetical reconciliation, candidate bribing and interrupted polling among others.

"From these 360 cases, we only have 18 petitions in court and one case has been concluded of Lilongwe City South East Constituency where recounting is to be done next week Tuesday," said Mbendera.

However, MEC has always insisted that it checked all the records of the results before announcing, hence the call to all concerned candidates to challenge the results in court.

Meanwhile, the commission said it has managed to reduce null and void votes in 2014 to 1.09 from 2.54 percent in 2009, a development Mbendera said has beaten international standards.

"Internationally, they say when you achieve 3 percent null and void votes its good news but Malawi in 2014 has managed to reach as far as 1.09 percent.

"This is good news everybody should be proud of," said Mbendera adding that special thanks should go to all electoral stakeholders for achieving this.

Pan African Civic Educators Network (Pacenet) Executive Director Steve Duwa said it is good news which implies that messages put across to the electorate were clearly understood.

Duwa said as a civic education organization it will try as much as possible to keep the good record attributing the good development to issue based campaign.

"This means that people can really make good decisions once approached," said Duwa adding that there is need for the country to go for electoral cycle in order to promote public participation.

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