Malawi: Ballot Papers From Dubai Begin to Arrive As Malawi Polls Near - Politicians Appeal to Voters for Calmness

President Peter Mutharika, Vice President Saulos Chilima of UTM and Lazarous Chakwera of the main opposition Malawi Congress Party.

The first consignment of ballot papers started arriving in the country Monday from Dubai printers - Al Ghurair Printing and Publishing LLC - as preparations for the Tuesday May 21 2019 Tripartite Elections entered their final phase.

The first batch of ballot papers arrived in the country Monday through Kamuzu International Airport, Lilongwe through an Emirates Airline plane

Malawi ballot papers arrives from Dubai printers

The ballot papers, grouped into 28 pallets were for the Local Government Elections and half of Parliamentary Elections ferried in an Emirates SkyCargo landed at Kamuzu International Airport at 11:45 am on Monday, with the rest arriving Tuesday.

The second batch will have the remaining Parliamentary and presidential ballot papers.

Present at the arrival were representatives of different political parties, electoral stakeholders and the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) secretariat.

Speaking at the event, Pollster chairperson, Jane Ansah said the reason the ballot papers have come in two consignments is because there are many of them and could not be carried all at one go.

"We are receiving the first consignment of ballot papers today for all local government elections plus half of parliamentary candidates and tomorrow we will get the last consignment," said Ansah.

She also assured different stakeholders present that the ballot papers will be kept at a secure warehouse and will be guarded by a Malawi Defence Force (MDF) platoon.

Commenting on the matter, ruling Democratic Progressive Party director of elections, Ben Phiri expressed excitement and commended MEC for being transparent by involving all political parties.

"We have been running up and down in preparation for the election so we are happy because this is a step further for us and we hope to see the same transparency MEC has displayed here on the voting day," said Phiri.

UTM National Deputy Director of Elections, Bright Kawaka also appealed for calmness from voters.

"We would like to assure voters out there that indeed the first consignment box of ballot papers has arrived so they should just be calm and wait for the voting day because we can see here that MEC has put everything in order and even the transparency here is just showing us how commited the commission is in ensuring a fair and credible election," said Kawaka.

For each election there are 197 pallets at each level and the last consignment of ballot papers for parliamentary candidates which will arrive tomorrow at noon is expected to be dispatched at all district councils on 16 May.

Meanwhile, MEC has also released a final list of presidential candidates and their running mates as well as Parliamentary and Local Government Elections candidates.

The presidential candidates, seven in total, include Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) president Peter Mutharika and his running mate Everton Chimulirenji; UTM Party president Saulos Chilima and his running mate Michael Usi as well as United Democratic Front (UDF) president Atupele Muluzi and his running mate Frank Mwenifumbo.

Others include Malawi Congress Party (MCP) leader Lazarus Chakwera and his running mate Siik Mia, Umodzi Party's (UP) John Chisi and his running mate Timothy Kamulete; Independent candidate Revelend Kaliya and his running mate Mabvuto Ng'ona and Mbakuwaku Movement for Development (MMD) president Peter Kuwani and his running mate Archibald Kalawang'oma.

In the parliamentary elections, there are 1 329 candidates while in the Local Government Elections, there are 2 694 candidates.

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