20 May 2019

Malawi: MEC Says Results for Malawi Polls Expected in 8 Days - Ansah Assures Credible Elections, Dismisses Rigging Fears

As Malawi's 6.9-million registered voters head to the polls on Tuesday, Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) chairperson Jane Ansah has asked Malawians to have trust in the commission that a fair a democratic process will be done.

Ansah: MEC processes have been transparent throughout

Ansah told a news conference on Monday that MEC will deliver a credible elections playing down fears of rigging as claimed by UTM Party which is accusing governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) of training mercenary police officers to man polling centres and allegedly execute the purported plot.

But MEC chairperson said security officers are not allowed to be involved in vote counting, carrying materials, stressing that their role is strictly to provide security.

Vice-President Saulos Chilima, who is also UTM Party presidential candidate in Tuesday's election, also alleged that DPP has hired former Zimbabwe Police chief Augustine Chihuri to train the mercenary officers.

But Ansah, who is a judge of the Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal, insisted there is no room for any bogus security personnel to infiltrate the system.

"We have received one report of an allegation that there're plans of rigging. That there are people wearing police uniforms and that there's one man from Zimbabwe who trained and deployed these people. Police response is that these claims are baseless," she said.

Ansah also trashed rumours that there are ballot papers already marked, saying the claims are aimed at discouraging people from voting.

"This is not true. No ballots have been marked already," she assured.

Ansah said all ballot papers have security features that one can see and others features that cannnot be seen and only MEC officials know them.

"Be assured that the ballot papers you'll get are real," she said.

Meanwhile, Ansah said the elections results will be announced within 8 days.

" MEC will not be in a hurry to announce results in order to do a thorough job," she said.

Ansah could not say when then inaguartion of the president-elect would take place, saying MEC is not involved in organizing the swearing in ceremony of the president.

Analysts say with no provision for a run-off election, the close contest between the three frontrunners - President Peter Mutharika, vice -president Saulos Chilima and former leader of opposition Lazurus Chakwera - could bring complications.

Political analyst Sherrif Kaisi says the outcome depends on the rural areas, where more than 80 percent of Malawians live.

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