The Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) has banned a headteacher and suspended a temporary employee after voter registration certificates meant for Lilongwe were found in Mangochi.
The commission has banned from all electoral activities the headteacher of the school where the certificates were found for taking the certificates to a Malawi Congress Party (MCP) politician instead of reporting to police.
Earlier this week, voter registration certificates for Mlare School in Lilongwe Msinja North Constituency were found at Thema 1 School in Mangochi at the end of voter verification exercise a development which did not please individuals and other stakeholders who asked MEC to seriously look into the matter.
After finalizing their investigation, MEC through Director of Media and Public Relations Sangwani Mwafulirwa said a temporary employee was printing the voter certificates for every person who came for voter verification which was against clear instructions that printing should only be done for replacement of lost certificates.
“During interrogation, the temporary staff said that he wanted to handover the certificates to MEC staff during retrieval after voter verification in Lilongwe but forgot and proceeded with them to Mangochi where he was posted to Thema 1 School,” said Mwafulirwa in a statement.
After the voter verification exercise in Mangochi, the temporary staff forgot the envelope containing the certificates alongside other personal effects in the room he was sleeping at the school.
The envelope and the personal effects were found by pupils attending extra lessons at the school who handed them over to the headteacher who worked as a supervisor during the verification exercise.
The head teacher took the voter certificates to MCP campaign director and later to an aspiring MP for the constituency.
“The aspiring MCP MP for the constituency displayed the voter certificates, took pictures and circulated them on social media,” said Mwafulirwa in a statement.
Meanwhile, the temporary staff has been withdrawn from MEC ongoing voter verification for purposes of further interrogation by the police to establish if there was any ill motive for his action.
MEC further said it will no longer involve the head teacher at Thema 1 School in subsequent electoral activities because he behaved irresponsible and showed politically compromised conduct.
MEC plans to organise a stakeholders meeting at Mlare School to explain to the voters at the centre what happened and also assure them that their voter registration details are safe and intact.
The voter certificates found in Mangochi will be kept in safe custody and will soon be destroyed in full view of the public when the matter is closed.