Police interim report has ruled out foul play in the fire that gutted down Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) warehouse in Lilongwe destroying ballot papers for the contested Lilongwe City South East Constituency election.

On July 15, 2014 the fire gutted down MEC warehouse, a development that surprised many Malawians considering the fact that the werehouse was keeping ballot papers for Lilongwe City south East Constituency where Malawi Congress Party (MCP) candidates Ulemu Msungama challenged the results, accusing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) MP Bentry Namasasu of rigging.

MEC Chairperson Maxon Mbendera disclosed this on Friday when he was presenting his report to the 8th National Elections Consultative Forum (Necof).
“I wish police were here to report directly what their findings are. But I can share with you that a steering committee in Lilongwe brought an interim report which indicates that we should forget about arson. I am paraphrasing; they didn’t say forget about arson, they said arson is ruled out.

“We have no control over what police do… but that is what the interim report says. If the police will join us during the day, I would like you to pose the questions to them,” Mbendera was quoted as saying.

When he gave the background to the fire incident, Mbendera mentioned several security agencies that were present during the night of the inferno, saying there was a milliard of security services doing their work during the night the warehouse was gutted.

He said apart from the Commission’s hired private security services, Mec also deployed police officers and according to the Commission’s reports there were contingents of ten officers per shift.

The May 20 tripartite election which saw the then opposition DPP under President Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika was marred by several irregularities and it took the intervention of the Judiciary for the results to be released.

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ZIMENE MUMAKONDA

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