The opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) director of youth Richard Chimwendo Banda has warned against any attempt by any party, institution, individuals and politicians against rigging the May 21 2019 Tripartite Elections.
Chimwendo Banda was commenting on concerns raised by Rumphi East member of parliament (MP) Kamlepo Kalua (People's Party -PP) that the governing Democrtaic Progressive Party (DPP) are buying voter registration certificates from registered voters.
Kalua's claims were corroborated by other legislators, including Patricia Dzimbiri (Balaka West), Jessie Kabwila (Salima North West) and Richard Chimwendo Banda (Dowa East, Malawi Congress Party), Wallace Chapawa (Zomba Chingale , PP), Patricia Kainga Nagozo (Zomba Central ), among others.
The MPs said reported the matter to Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) to investigate the matter but there has been inaction.
Minister of Homeland Security Nicholous Dausi said: "What is happening though is that most members of various political parties and Independents are requesting that a person who wants to receive the party cloth or paraphernalia symbols and regalia show his or her Voter Registration Card to ascertain whether he or she is a registered vote."
But Chimwendo Banda warned that any attempt to rig the elections would be met with a stiff resistance, saying Minister of Homeland Security should be sincere with the information regarding people who are involved in the malpractice.
"Why are they targeting the voter registration cards instead of the national identification cards? That is where everybody is deeply worried. If it were to do with any programme, for instance, any ministry that would want to dispense food or whatsoever, I think the best would be the national identification cards rather than the voter registration cards.
"These people are doing that under the watch of some people. That is why people can hide to say; they do not know what is happening on the ground," he said.
Chimwendo Banda warned: "I have a few words to the Minister of Homeland Security. The country is at peace now and it must continuously be at peace. When Honourable Members are raising these issues, it is your duty to provide assurance to them because I know; if Malawians are tired, they will take the law into their own hands.
"We are simply trying to let you know that this is what is happening. As we investigate, can I ask a question? What do we do with these people because, to you, it seems it is not government that has sent them? What do we do when we get these people? Otherwise, we are law abiding citizens and we do not want to take the law into our own hands."
He warned that if the vote buying continues, "Malawians out there will do whatever they can."
Said Chimwendo Banda: "I just want to say that whosoever thinks they are going to rig the elections; that will not happen this time around. We are ready... MCP is ready. Whether people are going to take ID's and registration cards, but I want to assure Malawians that no one is going to rig the elections.
"Whether they will to use a computer, people or money but this time around the elections will not be rigged. I would like to urge Malawians to go and vote. They should not be afraid. Whether they will ask you where your card is, you have your finger prints and details there. All Malawians, wherever you are, whether people have bought your cards, just go and vote. Change is coming and no one can stop it."
But minister Dausi said Chimwendo Banda, who is also Member of Parliament for Dowa North East, was only scare mongering.
"I want to repeat that there is nobody on either side of the political divide who does not understand that Malawi is at peace and will continue to be at peace. There is no question that any political party has a face of rigging and all these things are being heard in our localities," he said.
Dausi said people buying voter registration certificates should be reported to police.
"Our police is going to investigate and come up with the answer on individual cases, should there be one," he said.
Dausi warned Chimwendo Banda against fear mongering.
"Government will do all what it takes to make sure that nobody interrupts life or creates fear, including those that are spreading false stories of masquerading as if people are buying votes. Those people are also committing a crime and we are going to make sure that they stop. Scare tactics are not good for a campaign period like this and let us not employ them. They might have been important during the old days, but not these days.," said Dausi, a former member of MCP who served in the defunct para-military wing MYP.
The minister said MEC has through National Elections Consultative Forum, indicated that should somebody lose a Voter Registration Card, he or she will still be able to vote because the biometrics, will be able to recognise that individual as a registered voter.