Ansah says coronavirus could derail 2020 elections

Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) chairperson says the implementation of activities and procurement of materials for the 2020 elections could be disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic.

Ansah made the remarks on Monday while answering questions from Journalists during the launch of the electoral calendar for the presidential elections in Blantyre.

She noted that the Covid-19 disease has affected a lot of countries across the globe including countries that supply electoral materials for elections.

She mentioned ballot papers which she said are security documents and there is no security printing company in Malawi hence the ballot papers will need to be printed in another country which could be difficult due to coronavirus.

“If it is impossible to have the elections, it is not MEC’s making but what is on the ground. As much as we want to have the elections, there will not be any election without the ballot papers,” said Ansah.

She added that materials such as ink are also procured from countries such as China and failure to procure such items due to travel restrictions or shutdown of production companies could disrupt the elections.

“In the coming weeks we will be able to find out if the electoral activities will continue or not,” said Ansah.

In her speech at the launch, Ansah said that during the implementation of the electoral activities, the commission will provide masks, gloves, water and hand sanitizers for use in all places.

She added that there will be strict observance of distances between individuals as well as gatherings of less than 100 people during meetings following President Peter Mutharika’s declaration of a state of disaster over Covid-19.