The Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) has confirmed that a flight that was scheduled to bring ballot papers for the forthcoming by-elections on Sunday was cancelled.
Late last week, MEC announced a change for the arrival of ballot papers for the by-election from 26 March to 21 March 2021 claiming that there was no any flight which could ferry the papers on the first date.
However, with few hours to the arrival date, MEC made another communication that the flight that was supposed to bring ballot papers through the Kamuzu international airport in Lilongwe on 21 March, 2021, has been cancelled by the airliner.
MEC’s Director of media and communication Sangwani Mwafulirwa said the Commission has no information as to why the flight was canceled but said they are now engaging the printer and the airliner to fix new date for bringing the ballot papers into the country.
Mwafulirwa who could not indicate when the ballot papers will be flown into Malawi, was quick to say that the development will not in any way affect the electoral exercise which is scheduled for next week Tuesday, March 30, 2021.
He has since urged the public and all the concerned parties not to panic and exercise patience claiming all is well for the by-election come next week, Tuesday.
“I can confirm that the flight which was supposed to bring ballot papers to Lilongwe on 21 March, 2021, has been cancelled by the airliner. The Commission is intensively engaging the printer and the airliner to make sure that the ballot papers should be flown here by 26 March, 2021.
“The commission will be communicating more details on this but stakeholders should be assured that these changes in the flight schedule will not affect our polling logistics as initially the ballot papers were supposed to arrive on 26 March, 2021.” said Mwafulirwa.
He said that contractual agreement obligates the printing company which is from Dubai to identify and book for a flight that could bring in the country the ballot papers.