Malawi president was declared winner without electoral commissioners’ endorsement

Malawi president Peter Mutharika
Malawi president Peter Mutharika

One of the 8 commissioners for the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC), Bishop Mary Nkosi, Monday alleged that President Peter Mutharika was declared winner in the May election without the MEC commissioners’ signatures.

The commissioner made the allegation when she appeared before the Public Appointments Committee (PAC) of the Malawi Parliament in an inquiry on how the May presidential election was handled.

The inquiry was in response to the order made by the country’s constitutional court on February 3 that PAC should assess the competency and capability of MEC chairperson and commissioners on the management of the May 20 presidential election results, which the court nullified.

Commissioner Nkosi claimed that MEC Chairperson, Justice Jane Ansah, went on announcing the winner of the poll on the night of May 27 without seeking signatures of the rest of the commissioners.

“We did not sign before the results were announced: instead, we were asked to sign on the results sheet the following day morning when people had already gathered at the stadium for the inauguration of the winner,” explained the commissioner.

“So even if one could refuse to sign, it could not have changed anything because the election results had already been announced the previous day,” she said.

Nkosi also told the Committee that during the management of the presidential poll she noted “some glaring errors” in the handling of the election results and that the commissioner had raised concerns but it all “fell on death ears”.

She said during the handling of the results, some results sheets came in with alterations, tippexed, and on duplicate sheets which the presiding officers had strictly been warned against during training prior to the election.

“We raised the issues with the chairperson but nothing happened: The chairperson authorized the chief auditor to use the altered and tippexed results in determining the winner without consulting the commissioners,” explained the commissioner.

“I, as a commissioner, did not see the justification for continuing with the process but we had the chairperson who was making decisions,” she said.

The inquiry is scheduled to continue with the rest of the commissioners in the week and the MEC chairperson is expected to appear before the PAC Wednesday.

In its February 3 ruling, the constitutional court observed that the May presidential poll was marred by “grave, systematic and widespread alterations and tippex” and that these “undermined the credibility of the results”.

The court ordered that fresh election should be held in 150 days. Meanwhile, President Mutharika and the Malawi electoral commission has appealed the ruling to the supreme court of appeal. Enditem

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