Friday, August 15, 2014
Before We Forget: Fire Incident at Malawi Electoral Commission Warehouse in Lilongwe
For Immediate Release 17/07/2014)
The Commission met in an emergency session on Wednesday, 16 th July, 2014 in Lilongwe to, among other things, consider preliminaryreports issued to it concerning the fire that gutted its Warehouse inLilongwe during the night of Tuesday, 15 th July, 2014.
According to the reports, the fire, which begun at around 00.25hours, destroyed all electoral materials that were in the Warehouse including 2,400 ballot boxes which contained ballot papers, 81 GasCylinders, 168 Gas Lamps, amongst other items.Lilongwe City Assembly Fire Brigade was immediately called to putout the fire.
Among the Ballot Papers that have been destroyed are those for Lilongwe City South East Constituency that were due to berecounted following a Court Order.Having analysed the preliminary reports, the Commission is of the view that, arson cannot be ruled out.
In view of the premises, the Commission has formally approached the Inspector General of Police to institute appropriate investigations.The Commission wishes to emphasize that all security measures weretaken. The official security detail at the warehouse included 10armed Police Mobile Service (PMS) officers and two Security Guardsfrom SWOOP Security Company per shift.In addition, Malawi Congress Party provided two monitors per shift.
We have been made to understand that the National Intelligence Services (NIS) provided services although this was not agreed with us.Equally there was no prior notification of their involvement.The Commission will provide appropriate updates on this unfortunate incident.
Justice Maxon R. Mbendera, SC