Nkosi says MEC erred in rushing to announce 2019 election results

Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) Commissioner Bishop Mary Nkosi has admitted that the commission was wrong to announce the results of the May 21 presidential election when the commissioners knew that the elections were affected by irregularities.

Nkosi said this during a hearing at Parliamentary building in Lilongwe where she was summoned by the Public Appointments Committee (PAC).

According to Nkosi, the commissioners were shocked after noticing that correction fluid, Tippex, had been widely used by polling staff to correct figures on tally sheets during the polls.

She said MEC chairperson Jane Ansah was the one who authorized polling staff to continue using the altered tally sheets.

According to Nkosi, MEC chairperson Ansah also wrote a letter to auditors telling them to continue announcing results based on the altered tally sheets.

“If I have to be honest, I only came to know that there was a letter written to BDO (auditors) to continue announcing altered results during the election case. I didn’t know that letters were being written at the commission,” she said.

Nkosi added that she only signed for the presidential election results on the morning of the day President Peter Mutharika was sworn in saying she could not have refused to sign because it was too late.

She also noted that the balance of power in the commission is critical since commissioners come from political parties hence the next commission has to be balanced.

“This is because one man voice is difficult to be heard since we were appointed   from different political parties and I was appointed by one of the petitioner from president elections case,” said Nkosi.

On using teachers as presiding officers during the elections, Nkosi said the commission wanted to advertise for the positions due to concerns regarding the 2014 elections but the commission was told that there would be an uproar if teachers were not used considering that some of the materials used in elections are taken from schools.

Malawi Electoral Commission has nine Commission including the chairperson. The other commissioners will also appear before the parliamentary committee  which is inquiring into their competence as ordered by the Constitutional Court which nullified the May 21 elections.

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