Malawi: MEC Threatens to Take MCP to Court As Public Chase Electoral Officials and Lawyers

Malawi Electoral Commission has threatened to drag the Malawi Electoral Congress Party (MCP) to court if it does not withdraw a media statement withdraw accusing the electoral body of suspiciously soliciting signatures for new electoral results sheets.

Alfandika: MEC lawyers and staff are meeting presiding officers to prepare for affidavits to be used in court

MEC chief elections officer Sam Alfandika said in a statement made available to Nyasa Times on Sunday that MCP will be held responsible for any loss of life for MEC staff or lawyers of loss or damage to property in the course of MEC's preparation for a Constitutional Court case hearing on July 29.

Alfandika was reacting to a statement issued by MCP spokesman Reverend Maurice Munthali who alleged that some District Commissioners were working with MEC to lure presiding officers and other stakeholders to sign what he termed "the clandestine" result sheets in exchange for money.

The MEC chief elections officer rejected the allegations, saying MCP were peddling "a misleading and malicious statement" that can incite hatred and unkindness towards MEC staff.

He said MEC lawyers and staff are meeting presiding officers to prepare for affidavits for the ongoing court case.

"No presiding officer has been requested, forced or induced with money to sign for a new election results sheet or form as alleged in the statement issued by the MCP," said Alfandika.

In central region district of Kasungu, the public chased MEC officials and lawyers when they wanted to collect signatures of presiding officers for the May 21 Tripartite Elections.

Police spokesman in Kasungu, Harry Namwaza said: "People did not want MEC officials to collect the signatures they are looking for."

Namwaza said police intervened quickly and the situation was contained.

But commentator Negracious Justin has said MEC should have appreciated that the tension is exacted by the suspicious conduct of its agents which could have been avoided "had it applied its mind prudently and chose to be careful and transparent."

He said MEC failed to clear rumours that these lawyers are going about soliciting for signatures to documents which it failed to produce during the Court-sanctioned period of inspection/disclosure.

"Instead of coming forward to clear such rumours, MEC remained adamantly silent and expected the communities to play cowards or be fools.

"Prior to the announcements of the results, MEC was releasing frequent updates to the public regarding every step being undertaken in the discharge of its duties. This was not a favour toward the public. Rather, it was in compliance with the laws governing the process," Negracious wrote.

He accused the electoral body of "acting funny, childish and careless."

MCP president Lazarus Chakwera and UTM Party president Saulos Chilima are seeking nullification of the presidential results and the Constitutional Court is scheduled to start hearing the petition on July 29.

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