Candidates in Balaka dispute results

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…accuse winner of bribing presiding officers

Parliamentary candidates from Balaka Central East constituency have disputed unofficial results which have declared Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) candidate Chifundo Makande as a winner.

The candidates have since written the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) through Balaka district MEC office demanding a re-run.

people voting on May 21.. pic Towera Chisi

The complaint letter dated May 24, 2019 that we have seen has been signed by Innocent Banda who is an Independent candidate, Judith Laja of United Democratic Front (UDF) and Mercy Dossa of United Transformation Movement (UTM).

The letter alleges that Makande paid money amounting to K50, 000 each to Headmasters of various schools in the constituency to help him rig the election.

“We have learned that our monitors were denied access to result sheets in fourteen centers such like Chimbumbu, Nanthomba, Nthumba, and Chiendausiku among others.

“Our monitors were told to stay far from poling centers which resulted in them not fully participating in the voting proceedings which raises suspicions,” says part of the letter.

The letter further indicates that during the counting of votes, the monitors of the complainants were not allowed to see ballot papers to prove the credibility of the results.

“For example, at Chimbumbu polling centre, after finalizing the voting exercise the ballots were taken to the headmaster’s office and monitors were denied access to the office and upon finishing the counting, the monitors did not sign on the result sheets,” the letter says.

Among other complaints raised from the candidates through the letter is the allegation that DPP monitors were caught telling people in the voting queues to vote for DPP, a situation which was reported to MEC officials but no action was taken.

When contacted, DPP candidate Makande who is accused of rigging the election in the constituency refused to comment on the matter saying he cannot comment on something he learned through the media.

According to the unofficial results, Makande has won with 15, 685 votes, Judith Laja (UDF) is second with 9, 650, Yauwi Mpawemi (Independent) has 4, 940, Mercy Dossa (UTM) amassed 1, 967, Innocent Banda (Independent) got 627 while Dickson Wasili of Peoples Party has 315.

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