By Emmanuel Chirwa:
International election observation bodies have described the tripartite elections process as well managed, transparent and competitive.
The bodies—namely European Union Election Observation Mission (EUEOM), African Union Election Observation Mission, Commonwealth Elections Observation and Electoral Commissions Forum of Sadc Countries— have come up with the stance in their assessment preliminary reports released yesterday in Blantyre.
Chief Observer for EUEOM, Miroslav Poche, said, despite some hiccups such as delays in tallying of results, the election exercise had so far been well managed.
“The process was well managed by Mec, and Mec’s inclusive and transparent approach meant that stakeholders retained a high level of confidence in the election management body. Of particular note was improved integrity of the voter register, a revised public election calendar and creation of constituency tally centres,” he said.
The missions hailed Mec for the provision of resources to people with disability including the visually impaired, improvement in accreditation process for international observers, quick response to any misinformation especially those orchestrated by social media, use of biometric voter registration kits which improved the speed of capturing registrats and ensuring tight security during polling and tallying of results.
African Union Electoral Observation Mission Head and former president of Ghana, John Mahama, said reforms the country undertook prior to 2019 elections have been significant in ensuring the smooth running of the 2019 electoral processes.
He mentioned reforms such as the 2016 Communications Act, 2018 Political Parties Act and the 2019 Electoral Code of Conduct for political parties.
However, Mahama lamented lack of women participation and representation during the polls.
“Although Malawi passed the Gender Equality Act (2013), women continue to be significantly underrepresented at all levels of elected government as well as in nominations by parties’ presidential, parliamentary and Local Government levels,” he said.
His counterpart from the Commonwealth Observation Mission, Thabo Mbeki, who is also former head of state of South Africa, lamented abuse of state resources and partial broadcasting of results by State media house, Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC).
Mbeki said MBC largely favoured the party in power, the Democratic Progressive Party, in its coverage.
Electoral Commissions Forum of Southern African Development Commission Countries head of mission, Nomsa Masuku, called for Mec to further train polling staff so that inconsistencies during poling, counting and tallying of results are prevented.