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UTM demands deployment of Malawi Police officers to voter registration centres

UTM President Saulos Chilima

BLANTYRE-(Maravi Post)—UTM has demanded immediate deployment of police officers to voter registration centres following violent acts that ensued on Friday in Mulanje and other districts where UTM monitors were severely beaten.

Speaking at a press briefing briefing in Blantyre, UTM publicity secretary Joseph Chidanti Malunga expressed disappointment over the way police officers under the Democratic Progress Party (DPP) leadership are executing their duties.

“We must remind you that the police has been ordered not to provide any security to voter registration centres during the current voter registration for reasons best known to the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) and the police themselves,” said Chidanti while demanding Malawi Police Service to immediately deploy its officers to registration centres for security.

UTM says the withdrawal of police officers has given chance to other people to disrupt the registration exercise through violent acts.

The party further demands immediate arrest of the DPP cadets who attacked their monitors in Mulanje.

“We demand immediate arrest of perpetrators who unleashed violence on our monitors in Thyolo, Phalombe and Mulanje yesterday. It must be known that violence is unacceptable in this country, is punishable by law and this country belongs to all of us. We are all Malawians,” he said.

The party also fired warning shots to chiefs, MEC and National Registration Bureau (NRB) staff over registration of minors saying the law will take its course.

“Our investigation reveals that chiefs around the area announced that each child should go and register with NRB, and that those who will register and vote for DPP will be given bags of fertilizer. These chiefs are stationed at the registration centres to oversee the registration of minors who are ferried to registration centres by transporters such as Cassim car hire, hired by honourable Naija, honourable Chimwemwe Chipungu, honourable Navicha and many other DPP senior officials,” said Malunga.

“You chiefs must know that making a false statement attesting false identity or age is an offence under the national registration laws of Malawi, and liable to a jail term up to five years or fine of K1 million. I think this message is very very clear to the chiefs,” he warned.

On Wednesday this week, UTM’s alliance partner Malawi Congress Party (MCP) also alleged that the country’s electoral body, Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC), together with the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), are in a rigging trajectory ahead of fresh presidential elections slated for July 2, 2019.

Chakwera alleged that his party and all alliance partners had identified a rigging plot by MEC through creation of fake voters’ roll in collaboration with National Registration Bureau.

“As far the fresh election is concerned, to have credible election means being able to vote and have the confidence that your vote is protected. Today I want you to know that your votes as Malawians are not safe; because Malawi Electoral Commission is not doing enough to protect your vote.

“In fact, I have come before you to expose a criminal scheme at MEC; a scheme that threatens protection of your votes as we speak. As you know, this week MEC resumed its process of registering new voters to be added to the voters roll. But we now have evidence that the MEC voters roll itself is compromised,” Chakwera said.

He said over 7000 minors with similar are already registered through creation of  fake and ghost voters.

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