Neno South Parliamentary candidate, Barry Kasamba who has trailed Mark Katsonga Phiri has written the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) asking for a recount of votes in some centres on allegations that some candidates influenced the conduct of Presiding Officers.
In a letter to the electoral body, Kasamba requests that the votes from Neno South Constituency especially from the following centres Naminjale, Chifunga, Dzundu, Ligowe and Chidokhowe to be recounted on grounds of irregularities.
Ironically, these are some of the centres where the winner, Mark Katsonga Phiri, amassed more votes.
He alleged that there are strong rumours that some candidates distributed money to Presiding Officers which is against the country’s electoral laws.
Kasamba who failed in the 2014 election to Mary Maulidi Khembo, claims Katsonga was around Ligowe Polling Station where votes were counted and gave money to monitors at Naminjale Centre.
“At Ligowe, Katsonga was present during the counting period and was distributing drinks and other food items to staff at the centre and he chased away roving monitors for MEC who were on duty. One of the MEC roving monitors who was chased is a Mr. Nyanja.
“The presence of Katsonga at the polling centre was against the electoral laws that need to be investigated. Some ballot boxes at this centre also had no serial numbers,” reads part of the letter.
Kasamba claims that all monitors were given money and locked up in a room the whole night.
“The anomaly at Naminjale is a clear testimony that money exchanged hands. The presiding officer presented a photocopied result sheet to the tally centre. We need the original result sheet well signed by all monitors,” the complaint stated.
The winner, Mark Katsonga Phiri who is being targeted played down the allegations, saying they were mere speculations and that he was no party to the misconduct.
He challenged Kasamba to present evidence and that even if the votes were to be recounted, he would still be victorious as he won because of his popularity in the constituency.
Katsonga Phiri who once served in the constituency from 2004 to 2009, said he had some information of other candidates who were dishing out cash on the voting day but that the claims lack credible evidence.
District Commissioner (DC) for Neno, Rodrick Mateauma said the complaint would be forwarded to MEC for redress.