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CSOs urge support to Mec for credible poll

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Charles Kajoloweka

The Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR) and Youth and Society (Yas) have urged electoral stakeholders to support efforts that the Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) is putting in place to ensure that the body conducts a credible election.

The two organisations have said this is not the right time to start throwing spanners into the work Mec is doing.

Speaking in Mzuzu Sunday, CHRR acting Executive Director, Michael Kaiyatsa, said they are happy that this far Mec, has been transparent by, among others, giving updates on the progress towards the election.

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“We would like to ask the commission to redeem its image. Demonstrate to Malawians that you are capable. The ball is in your court,” Kaiyatsa said.

He then urged Malawians to usher into power a leader who will be keen to deal on improving the lives of Malawians.

Weighing in, Yas Executive Director, Charles Kajoloweka, said local observers should be allowed to participate in the process as the election will take place without the traditional international observers.

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The sentiments come against a background of revelations that some organisations such as Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) have been denied permission to observe the fresh election on the basis that Mec is only allowing those that took part in the nullified poll.

“There is a potential of a new government or the sustenance of the current one. I don’t want to rush to say Malawians should accept the outcome of the election. We will only accept credible elections. However, those who will be dissatisfied with the outcome should follow proper ways of expressing their discontent,” Kajoloweka said.

Meanwhile, in Lilongwe, HRDC also held a press conference where the rights body urged Malawians to protect their vote on polling day and beyond.

HRDC Chairperson Gift Trapence claimed that some people are planning to bring into the country already marked ballot papers with the aim of rigging the fresh election.

“We want to call on Malawians to be vigilant. They should guard our airports and borders as these are the targets in bringing into the country already marked ballot papers,” Trapence said, without indicating in whose favour the alleged marked ballot papers would be brought into the country.

He charged that this time, HRDC wants nothing short of a free, fair and credible election and that anyone who tries to manipulate the poll would be dealt with.

HRDC National Coordinator Luke Tembo said they have introduced hotlines through which people can report anything deemed a threat to the credibility of the fresh election.

“The people of this country know very well how we have fought hard to come up with this fresh election. Therefore, during this last phase of voting we want everyone to play a role in making sure no one rigs or causes violence,” Tembo said.

CHRR, Yas and HRDC have since urged Malawians to turn out in large numbers and vote tomorrow.

Over 6.8 million Malawians registered in the 2019 tripartite elections out of which over 5.1 million voted.

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