4 May 2019

Malawi: Poll Rigging Rumours Worry Malawi Electoral Support Network

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The Malawi Electoral Support Network (Mesn) has expressed concern with the increased incidences of accusation and counter accusations of intentions to rig the May 21 2019 tripartite elections.

The development comes in the wake of claims by Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) torchbearer President Peter Mutharika and UTM's Saulos Chilima that some people want to rig the elections.

Mutharika claimed that some politicians want to bring into the country equipment and people from India, Russia and Nigeria to help rig the elections. The statement prompted the Public Affairs Committee (PAC) to institute investigations into the rigging claims.

Mesn chairperson Steve Duwa said in a communiqué released on May 2 that these unsubstantiated rumours have the potential to discredit the entire electoral process, including its outcome.

States the media release: "Mesn notes the importance of a transparent and credible electoral process and its outcome and calls on presidential candidates who are perpetuating rumours of a possible rigging of the May 21 elections to present evidence to MEC or police to investigate."

The network has since fired a warning shot on the continued trends of political violence and violence against women in politics (Vawe) and lack of action by key stakeholders on the issues.

Reads the statement: "As Mesn, we denounce in strongest terms any form of political violence as well as violence and verbal abuse against women in politics and call on MEC and the Malawi Police Service and political party leaders to take immediate action."

While appealing to the general public and the women themselves to report the abuses to MEC and the police, Duwa said the network will continue monitoring the entire pre-elections period through the observers it has deployed throughout the country.

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