As a nation, we are fighting two fierce battles at the same time. The first is our battle to have a competent and credible election. The second is our battle to stop the spread of coronavirus and survive the economic and social hardships it brings. Today, I want to speak to you about both.
As far as the fresh election is concerned, to have a credible election means being able to vote and having confidence that your vote is protected. Today, I want you to know that your votes as Malawians are not safe, because the Malawi Electoral Commission is not doing enough to protect your votes. In fact, I have come before you to expose a criminal scheme at MEC itself that threatens the protection of your votes as we speak.
As you know, this week MEC resumed its process of registering new voters to be added to the Voters’ Roll, but we now have evidence that the MEC Voters’ Roll itself is compromised. You already know that people tied to the DPP have been going around buying and collecting National IDs from Malawians, and you have all heard that the National Registration Bureau has been registering minors in the south of the country. What you may not know is how the DPP has been using NRB IDs and the NRB Register to corrupt the MEC Voters’ roll. To understand this, our team of investigators began by following a tip from Chikhwawa.
During phase 1 of MEC’s voter registration, a young man in Chikhwawa took his National ID Card to a MEC center to register to vote for the first time. His name is Ephraim and he will turn 18 two weeks from today. Upon arrival at the voter registration center, his National ID Card was scanned by the MEC official, but to his shock, it was discovered that Ephraim’s National ID number was already in the MEC Voters’ Roll, registered by MEC two years ago when he was underage, but under a different name and a different date of birth. This means that someone at MEC stole his identity from the NRB Register in 2018 and used it to create a fake voter in the MEC Voters’ Roll for the 2019 elections.
When the incident was reported to Mr. Daud Suleman, who is the Head of ICT under the MCP Director of Elections, he mobilized our vast network of intelligence-gathering assets to investigate. After a thorough comparison between the National IDs of young people like Ephraim and the MEC Voters’ Roll, we have identified over seven thousand minors with similar cases. This means that since 2018, the NRB National IDs of minors have been used to create fake voters and ghost voters in the MEC Voters’ Roll.
These fake voters and ghost voters in the MEC Voters’ Roll were already used in the 2019 elections, but the criminals did it without anyone noticing. Now that a fresh election has been ordered, the DPP has been busy gathering more NRB IDs and adding minors to the NRB Register, thinking that they can use the same method to create more fake voters and ghost voters in the MEC Voters’ Roll. But today I am blowing the whistle on this criminal syndicate because we have caught them red handed. Mr. Daud Suleman has a few images of the National IDs of minors like Ephraim and the fake voters that were created in the MEC Voters’ roll after their identities were stolen.
Fellow Malawians, the question you might be asking is: WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?
The answer to this question is simple:
The MEC Voters’ Roll must be audited and cleaned, and even the ID database needs to be audited and cleaned. Without doing so, the list of voters in MEC’s voters’ roll will still include stolen identities and other anomalies. If these criminals can steal your ID number from the NRB and create a fake voter in the MEC voters’ roll, all without taking your National ID number, imagine what they will steal when they get you to surrender your National ID card.
Fellow Malawians, I know that this is not easy to hear because too much has been stolen from you already. Your taxes are being stolen. Your medicines are being stolen. Your disaster relief funds are being stolen. Your votes were stolen. So, it is not easy to hear that even your very identity has been targeted by thieves. But when I answered the call to be your servant, I vowed that I would always tell you the truth, no matter how painful it is, and that I would always fight for you.
So, on this day, I make you this promise: As Dr. Chilima and I joined forces to fight against those who hijacked the 2019 elections to steal the presidency, and have joined forces to unite Malawi, we will join forces to stop those who are using the NRB data to create ghost voters at MEC and Covid-19 ghost beneficiaries at MEDEF. I have directed my legal team to begin a court action so that the NRB database can be disclosed, audited, and cleaned, so that the clean database can be used to audit and clean the MEC Voters’ Roll. I have also asked the Director of Elections to engage MEC and begin the process of auditing and cleaning the Voters’ Roll.
We will not stop until the databases of both institutions are cleaned, and we will not stop until those who have polluted them are brought to justice.
NDIYE TONSE TIKALEMBETSE. TONSE TITETEZANE.
So, as we continue our national fight to defeat Coronavirus, which has my full support, despite efforts by thieves to abuse the funds intended for the same. we will also fight over air, land, and sea to protect our rights as citizens. So, I encourage all of you to go and register in large numbers, because we will fight to make sure the Voters’ Roll is audited and cleaned. But to Mr. Mutharika’s errand boys who are busy creating fake voters for him in MEC Voters’ Roll, I give this warning: I know what you are doing, and your time is up.
I thank you all.
Dr Lazarus Chakwera