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Mesn reiterates need for new commissioners

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Malawi Electoral Support Network (Mesn) has reiterated need to speed up the nomination and appointment of Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) commissioners to avoid creating a vacuum in the electoral body.

The call was made through a statement yesterday, in Blantyre, during the launch of an advocacy for non-legislative electoral reforms.

“Mesn’s position is that the process of appointing new electoral commissioners after May 18 should go ahead as a matter of urgency to avoid a vacuum in the Mec which may lead to delay in preparations for the 2019 elections,” reads the statement.

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The statement, however, reminds the President and political parties involved in the nomination and appointment process of Mec commissioners to consider recommendations of the electoral reform process, including, establishment of an expert, gender inclusive and lean commission of at least seven members.

Mesn Executive Director, Steve Duwa, said it is high time political parties stopped choosing loyalists but rather commissioners who are acquainted with electoral issues.

“First of all there is a need for a continuous registration, we don’t simply have to wait until we have elections maybe next month or few months to come and we should be busy with registration.

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“We need to have the biometric system in place and discussions on those issues which we need, have to start now and it’s the duty of the electoral commission, our role is just to remind them. The continuous registration will avoid the hiccups we have always had, when everybody had to rush to crosscheck names in the voter register,” he said.

At least 16 recommendations have been made for the non-legislative reforms for the electoral commission. The reforms were made through a National Task Force which was instituted on October 3, 2014, to look at issues pertaining to legal framework, election management, civic education and conflict resolution.

Tenure of office for current commissioners ends on May 18, except for the chairperson whose tenure ends in October this year.

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