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The Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) has been asked to buy Zimbabwe’s electoral materials destroyed in the inferno that gutted the commission’s warehouse in Lilongwe, Malawi24 has learnt.

The cash-strapped electoral body has also been accused of playing hide-and-seek by its counterpart in Zimbabwe who have complained about MEC’s unresponsiveness, saying the Malawi electoral body has been coy and yet to write Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC).

“ZEC did not and has to date not received any written or official communication from the Malawi Electoral Commission confirming that part of its loaned equipment was burnt in a fire during the May Tripartite elections,” said ZEC’s chairperson, Justice Rita Makarau.

MEC borrowed 8,452 gas cylinders and 9,500 gas lamps and tents from Zimbabwe to use in the May 20 tripartite elections.

In an interview, MEC’s chief elections officer Willie Kalonga confirmed that 1500 ballot boxes had been destroyed along with several gas cylinders and lamps which the commission borrowed.

ZEC however said it entered into agreement that MEC would required to buy any material which would be destroyed.

“MEC had taken out insurance over the loaned equipment and in the event that the equipment was indeed burnt in the fire and MEC is called upon to make good the loss, ZEC is confident that MEC will do so,” said Makarau.

The warehouse fire also destroyed ballot boxes containing votes from a disputed election just days after a court ordered a recount, with MEC suspecting arson.

“Having analysed the preliminary reports, the commission is of the view that arson cannot be ruled out,” Maxon Mbendera, the head of the Malawi Electoral Commission, told the press last July.

Source : Malawi24