CSOs for non-legislative electoral reforms
Civil society organisations under the Council for Non- Governmental Organisations (Congoma) have endorsed four core non-legislative electoral reforms aimed at improving administration, management and delivery of future elections.
Congoma Chairperson, MacBain Mkandawire, confirmed the CSOs’ endorsement which he said took place on Tuesday in Lilongwe at a meeting for member organisations under Congoma.
The campaign is championed by Malawi Electoral Support Network (Mesn) which also championed legislative electoral reforms which are now with the Law Commission.
The four recommended areas are changes in registration and verification of voters; delivery of election materials; management of election results, and strengthening of voter information and education.
“One of the issues we want to happen now is accreditation of CSOs to start civic education immediately for electoral process. Time is not on our side. We should not be accredited six or so months before elections. Political parties are already campaigning but the citizens are not getting balanced information,” Mkandawire said.
He said the Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) should stop doing things in a rush because that only encourages confusion in the electoral cycle. He said electoral calendar should be released at least a year before elections.
Mesn Chairperson, Steven Duwa, said his organisation is advancing for non-legislative electoral reforms besides the other legislative electoral reforms as the former will not need legal processes.
“Non-legislative electoral reforms will not need the Law Commission or Parliament. They largely fall under Mec. They are important reforms because they will ensure smooth running of elections,” said Duwa in an interview.
Mec Spokesperson, Sangwani Mwafulirwa, concurred with the CSOs on the need to start early civic education.
“Mec also appreciates the need for early accreditation for voter education providers.
That is an issue that the Commission is looking into and when everything is finalised, we will be contacting all who are interested.
“However, take note that the accreditation issued in the run-up to 2014 elections remains active until the next accreditation. Therefore, CSOs wishing to conduct civic and voter education should use that accreditation,” Mwafulirwa said.
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