Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR) and the Centre for Development of People (Cedep) have demanded smooth investigations into the controversy surrounding the ‘malicious’ fire that razed down the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) warehouse in Area 4, Lilongwe last week.
CHRR Executive Director, Timothy Mtambo, and Cedep Executive Director, Gift Trapence said in a joint statement released on Monday that it is saddening that MEC merely described the incident as ‘normal’ prior to a well-established investigation.
“CHRR and Cedep expect nothing short of expeditious and thorough investigations into the matter.
We expect the Police to exercise utmost professionalism and integrity for the good of the country when investigating the matter. Otherwise, fire has denied the constituents and Malawians in general the truth on who was the legitimate winner in the constituency,” reads part of the statement.
It adds “We at CHRR and Cedep recommend urgent full investigations into the matter in the best interest of the people of Lilongwe City South East Constituency and the principles of justice and democracy.”
According to the two bodies, the only way out of the case in which the Malawi Congress Party (MCP) is challenging results of the Lilongwe South East Constituency Parliamentary election is by holding by-elections.
On another note, the statement also has asked Government to ensure that premises like the MEC warehouses have firefighting mechanisms in place to avoid further fire accidents on the background of another fire incident that burnt down Mzuzu main market.
“Government of Malawi needs to consider prioritizing fire-fighting mechanisms. It is no secret that of late, the country has lost a lot of property to fire due to delayed fire-fighting by the authorities.”
The burning down of MEC warehouse raised suspicions as it happened at a time when the Commission was to recount votes for the constituency following a court order. MCP candidate Ulemu Msungama challenges the results won by Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) candidate Bentley Namasasu.