European Union election observer mission arrives today
The European Union Election Observation Mission (EU-EOM) arrives in the country today to issue a fresh report on the disputed May 21 presidential poll.
The delegation comes as the country awaits judgement of the Constitutional Court sitting at the High Court in Lilongwe within 45 days from December 21 2019.
Aurelie Valtat, EU Deputy Head of Political Affairs, Tuesday confirmed that the EU-EOM will, after arrival, hold a press conference and later release the report.
“I can confirm [that] the head of election observers, Miroslav Poche, Chief of European Observer Mission during the 2019 May election is jetting [in] on Wednesday. Last time, he wanted to come it was when there was airport closure scare and the trip was postponed. This why it took time for the observers to come and release the final report,” Valvet said.
Valvet said EU was aware of the court case but the observers’ report is independent.
She said the report will be shared to all political parties and the media.
Chancellor College political analyst, Ernest Thindwa, said reports issued by such bodies are not only well measured but also informed.
“I surely cannot comprehend what purpose the said fresh report by EU will serve. It appears to me international bodies like EU are much more concerned with peace than justice,” Thindwa said.
Soon after polling and announcement of the disputed election results, EU-EOM issued a preliminary statement which focused on some key areas of the electoral process such as registration of voters, gender issues during campaign and media involvement.
The EU described the polls as “well-managed, inclusive, transparent and competitive”, but the campaign was marked by tensions and an unlevel playing field.”
It also said the counting at polling stations was transparent but challenged by poor conditions and poor adherence to procedures.
“The vote count was transparent, with party monitors present in all polling stations observed, while citizen observers were present in 25 out of 32 polling stations.
“Closing was assessed as bad to very bad in 12 out of 32 polling stations observed, mostly, due to inconsistency in following procedures and problems with reconciliation and completing the results sheets. Counting continued across the country throughout most of the night, in difficult conditions such as poor light and inadequate premises.
“Problems with ballot reconciliation and in completing the results forms were noted in 19 and 16 respectively out of 32 polling stations observed. The proper procedures were not followed in 15 out of 32 polling stations where EU-EOM teams observed. Preliminary reports indicate that the problems with the results sheets are impacting on the tallying process in some areas,” the report reads.
Despite concerns from the opposition citing poor management of the elections, Malawi Electoral Commission announced that President Peter Mutharika was the winner of the presidential race.
Malawi Congress Party candidate Lazarus Chakwera came second while Chilima was third.
Chakwera and Chilima are asking the courts to nullify the results of the presidential election and call for a fresh election.
Other observers from the African Union, Sadc and the Commonwealth said the elections were relatively free and fair.
Meanwhile, UTM leader Saulos Chilima has declined meeting the EU delegation and has questioned the timing of coming up with the report arguing that the matter is in the hands of the court.