BLANTYRE. — Attempts by the Peoples Party to stop the Malawi Electoral Commission from proceeding with vote counting and announcement of results hit a snag when the High Court in Blantyre refused to grant them an injunction.
The PP’s legal team rushed to court to obtain an injunction to force MEC to suspend the electoral process until vote counting was redone manually.
But Justice Tembo refused to grant the injunction, meaning MEC will proceed with vote counting and announcement of results.
PP has refused to concede defeat in the current tripartite elections, arguing that the electoral process registered a lot of anomalies and that the opposition Democratic Progressive Party was rigging the election.
PP official Wakuda Kamanga argued yesterday MEC’s digital system had allegedly been hacked by DPP in order to rig the elections in its favour.
President Banda said PP had since submitted complaints to MEC.
President Banda said there had been “serious irregularities” in the conduct of this week’s election, questioning the legitimacy and outcome of the highly-charged vote.
President Banda said the vote had seen ballot tampering, presiding officers arrested, people voting multiple times and the collapse of the computerised voter counting system.
“It has come to my attention that there (are) some serious irregularities in the counting and announcement of results in some parts of the country,” she said calling for an “immediate manual audit of the whole process”.
This is the first major electoral test for the 64-year-old former vice-president, who came to power when president Bingu wa Mutharika died in office two years ago.
But MEC Chairperson Justice Maxon Mbendera dismissed the rigging claims, saying their system was only failing to admit figures that don’t match.
Mbendera said they had to resort to using a manual system of recording results from the polling stations across the country, which would be verified later on by the authorities.
He was surprised that it was only PP that was raising rigging fears while other major parties like UDF, MCP, DPP and others have not. Mbendera has since refused to stop vote counting until PP brings out tangible evidence to justify its claims rather than lip service. “How can you hack results that have been pasted on the wall of each of the 44 polling stations”, he quipped?
He added, “The problem with our system has nothing to do with hacking. Let the PP bring evidence and we will follow it up, but the truth of the matter is, there is no rigging or hacking of our system.”
The MEC Chairperson urged all political parties to channel their concerns to proper authorities instead of using the media.
Meanwhile, the MEC was meeting several political parties like MCP, DPP, UDF and PP who have raised complaints in relation to the electoral process.
In another development, presidential running mate for opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), Saulos Chilima, faced arrest for allegedly hacking Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) computers, Malawi24 reported.
DPP’s presidential candidate, Peter Mutharika, confirmed during a press briefing yesterday afternoon that a warrant of arrest had been issued to have his running mate arrested.
“I understand that there’s a warrant of arrest for my running mate Saulos Chilima and Ben Phiri on allegations that they hacked (a) computer”, Mutharika told reporters at his residence in Nyambadwe, Blantyre.
While warning against hate speech that could incite violence as MEC counts the votes, Mutharika alleged that he had information that President Banda’s Peoples Party was mobilising its supporters to stage street protests against the results.
Projections from unofficial results indicate that the race is tight between DPP’s Peter Mutharika and MCP’s Lazarous Chakwera. — malawi24.com/AFP.