By Enock Balakasi
The first batch of ballot papers has started arrived in the country today through Kamuzu International Airport, Lilongwe from Dubai printers – Al Ghurair Printing and Publishing LLC.
There was tight security at the cargo section of Kamuzu International Airport (Kia) in Lilongwe, where the first consignment of ballot papers for the May 21 Tripartite Elections arrived Monday.
Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) Chairperson, Jane Ansah, said Malawi Defence Force (MDF) soldiers would provide security for the documents.
An Emirates Airline plane carrying the ballot papers touched down at exactly 11:45am
The ballot papers, grouped into 28 pallets were for the Local Government Elections and half of Parliamentary Elections ferried in an Emirates SkyCargo with the rest arrivive OK n Tuesday same time.
In an interview MEC Chairperson, Jane Ansah said the reason the ballot papers have come in two consignments is because there are many of them and could not be carried all at one go.
“We are receiving the first consignment of ballot papers today for all local government elections plus half of parliamentary candidates and tomorrow we will get the last consignment,” said Ansah.
“The ballot papers will be put in the warehouse. The place is secure. We have got a whole platoon (of the MDF) that is residing here,” Ansah said.
Representatives of different political parties, electoral stakeholders and the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) secretariat witnessed the process.
Democratic Progressive Party director of elections, Ben Phiri, said they were satisfied with measures put in place to protect the ballot papers.
“Having done everything that we needed to do, two last things we wanted were the arrival of ballots and the voting day. Coming today to the airport to witness this important occasion is certainly news beyond excitement,” Phiri said.
UTM National Deputy Director of Elections, Bright Kawaka also appealed for calmness from voters.
“We would like to assure voters out there that indeed the first consignment box of ballot papers has arrived so they should just be calm and wait for the voting day because we can see here that MEC has put everything in order and even the transparency here is just showing us how commited the commission is in ensuring a fair and credible election,’’ said Kawaka.
National Initiative for Civic Education Public Trust Executive Director, Ollen Mwalubunju, said the arrival of the ballot papers was an indication that the country was ready for the elections.“This shows that things are under control,” Mwalubunju said.