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Malawi’s Ruling Party Accuses Opposition of Intimidating Its Supporters During Voting

Residents line up to vote June 23, 2020, in Malawi's election, which the ruling DPP says was marred by intimidation. (Lameck Masina/VOA)

Malawi's ruling party said Wednesday that opposition supporters tried to intimidate its backers during voting the day before in the presidential election, an assertion the opposition MCP party denied.

At a news conference, Democratic Progressive Party spokesman Nicholas Dausi showed reporters photographs of some DPP supporters who he said were assaulted by thugs sent by the opposition Malawi Congress Party.

“As we are talking, Democratic Progressive Party monitors in the areas of Kabudula, Lilongwe-Mapungu North and Lilongwe-Kasiya were abducted," Dausi said, adding that "four girls and four boys" were missing.

He said MCP members also manhandled DPP Secretary-General Greselida Jeffrey and burglarized the home of her husband.

“The thugs went to his house," Dausi said. "They damaged the government’s vehicle and stole almost K11 million, which was meant for DPP monitors in Salima district.”

Finger pointed at DPP

Maurice Munthali, spokesperson for the opposition MCP, told VOA on Wednesday via telephone that the DPP assertions were laughable because there was no evidence that those attackers were members of the Malawi Congress Party.

“If anything, what we have heard ... is that DPP was on it again, trying to rig the elections," Munthali said. "DPP, if anything, would not have expected Malawians to sit idle as [they] see such nasty things happening around them.”

MCP candidate Lazarus Chakwera was the main challenger to President Peter Mutharika of the DPP in the election. The poll was a rerun of last year’s election, won by Mutharika but annulled by Malawi’s Constitutional Court because of massive irregularities.

At a press conference Wednesday, Malawi Electoral Commission chairperson Chifundo Kachale said the commission had received a total of four complaints from both the MCP and DPP parties alleging intimidation during the voting.

Kachale said the commission would ensure that all complaints were amicably addressed before an announcement of election results within eight days.