Malawi: MEC Playdown Claims Linking Zambia Officials to Rig Malawi Poll - Warns Against Manipulating Materials

Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) has downplayed claims by opposition Tonse Alliance during the final campaign rally on Saturday that three top Zambian nationals have come in the country to allegedly rig the fresh presidential elections in favour of incumbent Peter Mutharika due on Tuesday.

UTM Party secretary-general Patricia Kaliati made the claims in a televised rally in Blantye that former Minister of Finance, Dr. Katele Kalumba, former intelligence chief Xavier Chungu and former State House Special Assistant for Politics, Kaizer Zulu entered the country through Mzimba at Jenda border with Zambia.

She called on the Zambian High Commission in Malawi to ensure that three Zambians leave the country.

This was corroborated by Malawi Congress Party (MCP) secretary Elsenhower Mkaka at another televised rally in Lilongwe.

MCP and UTM are in electoral alliance under the banner of Tonse.

When the matter was put to MEC chairperson Dr Chifundo Kachale at a news briefing in Blantyre on Sunday, he said "I will not be competent to comment on the allegations."

He added: "If that information has been shared with the people who can take action, am sure appropriate actions will be taken.

"But it will be very ill advised for me to begin to comment on statement made on a campaign platform it will drag us nowhere."

During the news briefing, Kachale, a judge of the High Court, reiterated that the commission will remain impartial and that people should desist from implicating the commission in unfounded allegations.

He said those who do so will be dealt with accordingly.

Manipulating Materials

Kachale also exonerated the electoral body from the polling procedure poster that is circulating on social media with a distorted message on how to choose a candidate.

"The Electoral Commission is a neutral body and does not take sides to the extent of guiding the public on whom to vote for. Therefore, the Commission strongly condemns all those involved in this malpractice," said Kachale.

He urged all electoral stakeholders to refrain from dragging MEC into partisan politics by manipulating and distorting the voter information, education and communication materials it produces.

"The Commission is warning everyone found engaging in this malpractice, whether originating or sharing, will be dealt with appropriately under the Section 84 (8) (d) of the Electronic Transactions and Cyber Security Act, 2016," said Justice Kachale.

Malawi goes to the polls on Tuesday in a historic presidential re-run after a court overturned last year's elections and ordered a fresh vote.

Although there are three candidates, Tuesday's election is practically a two-horse race between President Peter Mutharika and his main rival Lazarus Chakwera of MCP.

Peter Kuwani of the Mbakuwani Movement for Development (MMD), is the other candidate on the voting register.

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