MEC stops collection of statements from presiding officers

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The Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) has stopped meeting presiding officers to collect witness statements following threats against MEC workers conducting the exercise.

The electoral body’s spokesperson Sangwani Mwafulirwa said the safety of the MEC staff could not be guaranteed.

“Due to the unconducive atmosphere characterised by animosity and violent behaviour towards staff and lawyers, the commission has decided to halt the exercise. We are no longer going to the councils to collect affidavits and witness statements for our case,” he said.

MEC started the exercise to seek explanations from presiding officers in the May 21 elections on why they were sending duplicate result sheets and using tippex on result sheets.

However, the Malawi Congress Party (MCP) accused MEC of giving money to presiding officers to sign new result sheets.

The party told Malawians to apprehend MEC staff found meeting presiding officers.

On Sunday, the Commission complained that there were threats issued to MEC staff from several quarters following the statement from MCP.

The commission said its lawyers and staff were meeting presiding officers to prepare for affidavits for the on-going 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,” MEC said.

MEC asked MCP to withdraw its statement but the party refused.

MCP is challenging the outcome of the May 21 elections in which MEC declared President Peter Mutharika as the winner.

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