Tippex under spotlight on Malawi elections

MZUZU-(MaraviPost)-As By-elections in Lilongwe South Constituency is right around the corner for the third time, Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) staffers are out and about ensuring that all is orderly before the date of the polls catches up with them.

Awareness campaigns, to ascertain that no voter apathy or violence is registered on the material day, have well been done. Thanks for the timely preparation, MEC. Thumbs up!

What is more specially interesting though is the message that one Jean Mathanga, well placed and highly ranked commissioner, has been going about spreading. This well learned woman has sacrificed all hers to sensitize and warn presiding officers during this By-election that correctional fluid, popularly known as tippex, will not be tolerated on the ballot papers used on this day.

Commissioner Jean Mathanga has not minced any words to say that use of tippex on this day will not only be unlawful, but even any officer who will just be found in possession of the same while duty, will provoke the wrath of the Commission.

However, memories are still fresh that during the last May’s tripartite elections, embattled MEC Chairperson, Dr Jane Ansah, stressed it that the institution never provided tippex to the officers who conducted the polls in all the 5002 centres across the country.

What Dr. Ansah was trying to say then was that it was unlawful for the Commission or its temporary employees then to use any materials which were not provided for in the regulatory guidelines of the polls.

Later on, when the situation turned sour, Dr. Ansah confessed that they knew it was unlawful to use tippex on the ballot papers; and so such documents were not supposed to be endorsed, but the Commission went ahead to accept the figures and facts highlighted on the same, as time was fast running out. At least that is according to the highly cultured Supreme Court of Appeal Judge who is Dr. Ansah.

Fast forward, few days ahead of Lilongwe South Constituency polls, Commissioner Jean Mathanga is quoted as saying tippex will not be used and even possession of the same during the by election will be illegal. How ironic!

Four months ago, when High Court sitting as Constitutional Court in Lilongwe was hearing the presidential election case, the use of tippex was also talk of the court. The Court found it a bit hard to swallow how or MEC accepted tippexed results when it did not provide or endorse use of the same.

Now, isn’t Commissioner Jean Mathanga helping the five intelligent judges to find their job simpler? Anyway, they are only remaining with eleven days or so to announce their verdict!

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