Chilima’s name missing in voters’ register in Malawi elections

Malawi Vice President, Saulos Chilima, who is among the presidential candidates challenging the incumbent Peter Mutharika in the May 21 polls, has had his name missing in the voters’ register at the centre where he registered. 

Chilima, who went to the centre in the Malawi capital, Lilongwe, yesterday morning, was told by the elections staff to stand aside because his name could not be located in the register.

 A statement released by the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) later yesterday confirmed the development, saying Chilima’s name was indeed missing despite the fact that he registered there.

Chilima was later allowed to vote as there was enough evidence that he registered at the centre, the statement said.

“We have allowed the Vice President to vote because the Commission was certain that he registered at this centre,” the statement said.

“The Commission has investigated the issue and preliminary findings indicate that his name was transferred to Chiteko School, in Chizumulu Island, in Likoma district.”

The Commission has identified the temporary staff who transferred Chilima’s name to the centre hundreds of kilometres away and that the staff is under probe to establish his motive, the statement said.

Voting in Malawi started at 6a.m. local time yesterday and, according to law, it is expected to close at 06p.m. Voters swarmed to polling centres as early as 4a.m. to queue up for the balloting.

There are seven presidential candidates in this election, with Mutharika facing tough competition from his Vice President Chilima, of the UTM Party, and main opposition Malawi Congress Party’s leader, Lazarus Chakwera. For the parliamentary election, 193 seats are contested among 1,331 candidates.

A total of 6.8 million voters were registered across the country, many of them first-time voters who have just clocked 18 before or on the day of voting.

According to MEC chairperson Jane Ansah, the results of the polls will be announced within eight days. –Xinhua  

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