Atupele says Presidential race not over as MEC still counting

With unofficial results suggesting a win for opposition leader Lazarus Chakwera in a re-run of a Malawi’s presidential polls, President Peter Mutharika’s running mate Atupele Muluzi has said DPP-UDF supporters should wait for the final official tally by Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC), claiming results in public domain are not correct.

Atupele said on Friday there were “massive irregularities” noted in the elections and that the true reflection on the will of the people will come from MEC legalised declared results.

He urged DPP and UDF supporters to disregard results published on social media and wait for an official announcement from MEC.

Atupele said MEC is the only institution legally mandated to announce a winner of any national election; hence, all announcements from other stakeholders are irrelevant.

His comments comes after  President Mutharika accused the opposition of inciting violence  where DPP monitors were beaten and hacked a day before  the election after isolated incidents that the police and  Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) said had not affected the election.

Atupele said they will press for “real results”.

Analysts suggest President Mutharika may be preparing to challenge the outcome in case he loses.

“I think he is preparing the political, maybe the legal ground, for losing,” Peter Fabricius of the Pretoria-based Institute for Security Studies said.

Atupele Muluzi

Editor-in-Chief of Malawi media giant Times Group, George Kasakula, speaking on Times TV at National Tally Centre in Blantyre on Friday said DPP-UDF were “looking for anti-hill where there are none,” saying the refusal to accept the results circulated by private media was “an  act of desperation.”

He said: “They should produce an image of acceptance. They should concede that Malawians have punished us.”

But the DPP-UDF alliance claims Malawi Congress Party (MCP) had already printed MEC B6 Forms which were already filled in and were delivered to the centres at night in the absence of DPP monitors.

The B6 Form for reporting to MEC was allegedly swapped in many centres. The version of B6 Form that went to MEC was set to make Chakwera win.

“As a result, in most centres the numbers of actual voters exceeded registered voters,” said Atupele.

He said DPP-UDF will accept only certified results after the Electoral Commission have carried out “their investigations thoroughly and done all the required audits of the electoral materials.”

In a media briefing earlier, MEC chairperson Justice Dr Chifundo Kachale said the commission will be updating the nation on the results at 20 percent intervals.

“The Commission appreciates how important it is to release the final results and we are doing everything possible we can to ensure that this process is concluded in time. However, this will not be done at the expense of legality of the process and quality controls,” said Kachale, a judge of the High Court of Malawi.

“Where the public feels that we are not moving at a faster pace than expected, our appeal is that you should be patient and understand that the Commission does not wish to be faulted on procedure and legality.

“The Commission expects that all stakeholders will appreciate this and stand with us,” he said.

Malawians voted on Tuesday for the country’s president in a rerun of the 2019 election that was nullified by the courts because of vote tampering.