Confidential Report:Allerged Infiltration At MEC By Opposition MCP Exposed
The Malawi Congress Party (MCP) and their agents, have strategically been working to infiltrate and control strategic agencies as part of their 2019 General Elections where they can have influence and control into elections, especially the Southern Region.
This report has been compiled from an informant at the Commission and collaborated by two insiders on the reported suspicious activities. The informant so far has requested future considerations especially security and employment elsewhere should she be recruited for the purpose and deliver.
This is the first time informant who is not willing to be disclosed and only provides pointers to be further investigated. The summary is by the author’s understanding of the issues.
ISSUES SO FAR
PRO-MCP TASK TEAM
There are five team members with four having confirmed links with Mr. Sidik Mia and the fifth one who is main operator. Their identities are being withheld by the informant.
They allegedly are middle managers whom recruitment and most processes are entrusted with, allowing them to sit as ex-officio’s to the Commissioners meetings, access minutes and influence decisions of the Commission in deployment of actual staff and recruitment.
It is envisaged that these will form a core team to interview returning officer and other critical polling staff during the elections. As a compromise, the informant offered the following mobile number 0999219036 as evidence.
The number belongs to an official at MEC and in the presence of the informant has been contacted by Mr Mia and one other MCP official who will run in a constituency in Salima.
The call logs, frequency and contacts are used to rely the information and names for future recruitments.
Chairperson of MEC
There is apparent laxity by the Electoral Commission Chairperson in controlling and checking all detailed processes at the Commission, especially with the removal of Mr Kalonga and the subsequent death of the acting Chief all of who had been with the Commission for long. She has entrusted recruitment and filling of staff to sub-committees of the Commission which most times are dominated by Opposition representatives as party representatives are either passive or do not scrutinise candidates further. The major challenge is the recruitment of technical and support staff across MEC who will be primary handlers of elections and electoral related processes.
Recruitments so far, have been the major area where people deemed to be pro-Government or who have been at the Commission and do not seem to toe the line of new bosses are systematically side-lined despite their long experiences, in preference of new comers who have no experience and allegedly have ties to Mr. Sidik Mia and the Malawi Congress Party. Some of the crucial positions with influences towards the MCP recruited or to be include the following:
CHIEF ELECTIONS OFFICER
Though Mr Alfandika is considered fair and experienced, his links are from Lower Shire and needs to be constant check as with long history of political association, Mr Muhammed Sidik Mia’s influence cannot be overruled to attempt using secondary or third contacts to influence. So far he has shown interest in supporting the process that recruits new people short listed by a few.
THE RECRUITMENT SO FAR
Friday, 23rd March, 2018
The MEC advertised for drivers and though some of its old drivers were eligible for recruitment, a specific list of drivers from outside was produced and only those employed. These drivers are entrusted as internal MEC who normally ferry confidential electoral materials, officials who talk on the phone and eventually have contact with transporting sensitive results or compilations. The team has strategically recruited them for future use. This information requires to be verified.
FORTHCOMING SENIOR POSITONS 12TH APRIL, 2018
The informant further alleges that the next round of interviews will be on 12th of April, 2018 and the following positions has been pre-filled with candidates short listed by the five members of the task team:
1. Deputy Chief Elections Officer- Finance and Administration
2. Director of Civic Education
3. Deputy Director of Finance Management
There is a prima facie evidence of some collusion in recruitment and networking between some officials in MEC and Malawi Congress Party. The most important will be to get the number’s call logs and trace as to which other frequent lines and communications link to MCP officials. While still working on the informant to provide names and locations of meetings, it would be important for DPP members on the recruitment team be sensitised to scrutinise and object to some of the key appointments and take more interest in overall recruitment as so far the information points out that:
- If the MCP controls the MEC secretariat, it will be easy for them to recruit and employ own agents across the country who can tamper the final results even in DPP areas without much suspicion.
Vetting process should be recommended for all key MEC positions especially to ensure that party agents or associates are removed.
Given Mr. Mia’s past link with elections in the Southern Region, it should be assumed that he knows the major electoral strategies and systems that can be used to influence results and ensure proper outcomes.
Recruitment of strategic elections staff outside the MEC office should be scrutinised especially those handling electoral materials in strongholds of MCP.
It is very simple to confuse illiterate electorates or ensure low turn up by misallocating Civic Education component. There is a need to be alert on who assumes the position and their implementation to ensure fair coverage and accreditation of non-partisan civil society.
Given the laxity of the system, especially the Chair, it can be safely be assumed that the bye-elections in Nsanje Lalanje could require a re-examination of who handled the process from MEC and how others were recruited, to remove doubts that some influences could have played hand.
There will be a need to have continuous reports from the informant and other strategic positions beyond the Commissioners should the information be verified.
Looking at the speed of recruitments in various position and that of registration staff will start soon, this should be prioritised to prevent a total hijack of the electoral process by the MCP and further attention and focus be given to all elections related bodies and processes as it is clear the opposition has long term plans to deliver a specific result which will be difficult to challenge if the MEC staff are part of it and certify it as true and correct reflection of the results. With strategic staff, the MCP can play with result figures across the country and it will be difficult to dispute or demand vote recount, which can be averted by taking control of the process now. This information could be a pointer of the over confidence that Mr Mia, and not the MCP as whole has about 2019 outcomes.