MALAWI: Gondwe cautions MEC on rigging

hon_gondwe_loveness.jpgLoveness Gondwe
Malawi's only female presidential candidate, Loveness Gondwe has cautioned the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) against conducting fraudulent general elections.

Gondwe who is the first female presidential candidate and contesting
under the banner of New Rainbow Coalition (NARC) said a in a media
statement that the electoral body should clarify why they have extra
ballot papers for the May 19 polls.

MEC is reported to have printed 7 million ballot papers instead of 5.9 million, a real number for actual registered voters.

Gondwe asked MEC to ensure that everything possible should be done to
ensure free and fair elections noting that the printing of extra ballot
papers raises suspicion.

She has also asked MEC to speed up for ballot inspection by political
parties. Gondwe's remarks comes in the wake of the extension for the
verification and inspection of voters' rolls from 5 to 10 April due to
numerous irregularities blamed on the record takers, most of whom were
first timers in the task.

MEC spokesperson Fergus Lipenga said the five days which the electoral
body has set for verification and inspection had encountered problems
like having names and photographs missing from the original list at the
various registration centres countrywide.

"We have extended the period in order to give more time to those who
had registered so that they could properly check their names from the
roll-calls and at the same time the electoral body will do some
corrections," he said.

Some 5.7 million new voters registered in this year's voters' roll but
a quarter of the said number was missing from the roll calls.

Political analysts expressed concern over this development.

"The country might face voter apathy if these problems are not
carefully handled, " Imran Sherrif, a University of Malawi's Chancellor
College political scientist, said.

He said this was because not all registered voters whose names are
missing on the roll will go and verify their entries at the
registration centres.(Additional reporting APA)

Nyasa Times

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