We raised the alarm – MEC Commissioners

We raised the alarm – MEC Commissioners
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We raised the alarm – MEC Commissioners

By Kondanani Chilimunthaka

Second day in the interrogation of the MEC Commissioners by the Public Appointment Committee of Parliament, almost every commissioner has admitted irregularities in the way elections were conducted.

Almost all the Commissioners who have passed through the interrogation have told the Committee and the entire nation that that raised an alarm that something was not done as per PPEA after noting that Tippex was heavily used on tally sheets. The answer “I raised an Alarm after noting the tippexed tally sheets” brings in an assumption that the Commissioners were so negligent or deliberately overlooked at the problem because if all of them raised alarm, why did the same Commissioners go ahead to declare a winner using the documents that were having anomalies?

The Commissioners who are taking turns in appearing before the Committee are having a problem to directly answer whether they signed the declaration before or after announcement of the final results. One commissioner Moffat Banda also revealed the weakness of the process whereby the result sheet could not be verified with signatures that it has beennseen by all commissioners and confirmed. Commissioner Banda went ahead pronouncing that he won’t resign even if the supreme court finds MEC on the wrong, saying he thinks he has carried out his duties honorably.

When the committee interrogated Commissioner Yahaya Mmadi, it was established that the Commissioner never knew that some officials were arrested and are being prosecuted for mismanagement of the electoral process, and went further to deny being aware of any letter by the CEO to the audit firm requesting it to change some of its findings.

But commissioner Mmadi acknowledged using the altered documents though denied bending any electoral law in confirming and announcing results using such documents.

Tempers rose high when commissioner Kunje appeared before the Public Appointment Committee of Parliament. Commissioner Linda Kunje told the committee that the same Commissioners they are blaming of being incompetence put the in their current positions.

This didn’t go well with the members of the committee as it was undermining the mandate of the committee.

Kunje who before sparking this fire was at a certain moment sent out for being rude uncooperative, just like all other commissioners, said she noticed the tippexed tally sheets and raised the alarm.

The last Commissioner to face the committee was Commissioner Jean Mathanga. She acknowledged the use of Tippex and duplicate tally sheets but denied that this was against the PPEA.

She confirmed to the committee that the constitution of Malawi allows the use of altered documents and has since been asked to bring forward the provision that states this in the constitution of Malawi.

Looking at the explanations given by the commissioners it is clear that all do agree that Tippex was used, announcement of the final results was made before they signed for the declaration form and that each of them raised an alarm after noticing multiple forms with tippex, but it remains unknown why all of these commissioners saw such anomaly but decided to go ahead trusting such documents to the final stage of the process.

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