29 May 2014 (8pm)
Ladies and Gentlemen,
On behalf of the Malawi Electoral Commission I am here to report on developments and progress towards the determination of the election results. The Commission has continued to work diligently on the process of complaints and verifying the Presidential results.
As a result of these efforts, the number of polling centers that we have identified which reported more than 100% voter turnout, has increased from 58 to 65 centers. For these cases, the MEC is closely auditing and cross-referencing the information to make a suitable determination.
For the Parliamentary and Local Government elections the MEC has continued to progress. So far more than 75% of the information has been verified and tallied. The Commission will be assessing its progress tomorrow, ensuring that its rigorous standards of verification are met. This may delay our announcement of Parliamentary and Local Government races. Under the law, the announcement of the determination of these races may be suspended for up to seventy-two (72) hours.
For the complaints that have been received by the Commission, two-hundred and forty-eight (248) have been processed. Of these, two-hundred and sixteen (216) have been resolved. In twenty-six (26) cases, further evidence has been requested, but no feedback has yet been received. And finally, in six (6) cases incomplete information was provided by the complainant.
We have also continued to consult with our stakeholders. In particular, the Commission met with the Malawi Human Rights Commission to discuss developments. Their support and advice is highly appreciated and valued by the Commission.
We have also met with delegations from several political parties to review their concerns. These discussions have been productive in clarifying issues and maintaining a constructive form of communication.
Too often, some stakeholders have preempted discussions with the Commission by communicating first through the media. By degrees, this has caused unnecessary confusion, rumors and misinformation – in particular, across the social media. As such, the Commission wishes to remind all stakeholders and in particular the media, to confirm information and avoid needless tension.
Our latest advice on the Court proceedings for a recount and the required extension of time to announce results, is that they are ongoing. As such, allow me to reiterate my statement to the Nation of yesterday. The Commission is continuing to prepare to announce its determination of the Presidential results tomorrow, in accordance with the law, or as the Courts may otherwise direct.
The Commission is also undertaking a full audit of the ballot boxes that have been retrieved from across the country. It has been reported to the Commission by the Chief Election Officer that ballot boxes from all locations have been collected to regional warehouses. Meanwhile, warehouse staff are completing a detailed audit and verification of all ballot boxes in storage.
The election law (section 119) requires that the official record of the election - including ballot papers - be preserved for 12 months afterward. As such, any person interfering with these ballot boxes will be liable to criminal prosecution.
Thank you and God Bless You.
Justice M. Mbendera, SC
Malawi Electoral Commission