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Political parties fail to send election monitors

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Most political parties are yet to submit names of party representatives to monitor the on-going voter registration exercise despite the Malawi Electoral Commission sending several reminders.

The voter registration exercise enters its final phase but only a few parties have managed to respond to the Mec.

“So far, only People’s Party (PP), Leadership with Compassion Party (LCP) and Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) have submitted the names of party representatives to monitor electoral activities,” said Mec’s District Elections Officer for Mzimba North, Demeria Rocha.

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National Initiative for Civic Education (NICE) District Civic Education Officer for Mzuzu and Mzimba North Wisdom Nyirenda said provision of political party monitors at polling/registration centres is one of the key technical processes that MEC only facilitates to ensure that voter registration is monitored in a bid to mitigate complaints about the electoral process.

“It is not the duty of Mec to ensure that Parties submit monitors, it is the duty of political parties to provide monitors and to care for them. This helps to reduce complaints and allegations of rigging during and after the electoral process,” said Nyirenda.

Apart from the Mec Chairperson Justice Dr Jane Ansah reaching out to the parties to submit monitors, the electoral body has in recent months engaged the parties on the issue of submitting monitors at district level through the district elections clerks during Multi-Party Liaison Committee meetings in Mzuzu City and Mzimba North.

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In June MEC’s Chief Elections Officer, Sammy Alfandika said credible elections begins with a credible voter’s roll as a way of underpinning the importance of ensuring the voter registration is monitored for transparency and credibility

United Democratic Front Regional Secretary, Goodson Phiri, complained that it is costly to deploy monitors for the voter registration exercise.

“We understand the importance of voter registration but for this voter registration, we may not be able to send monitors. The monitors need to be taken care of. But we are making arrangements and we will certainly provide monitors during the actual polling,” said Phiri.

Regardless, MEC says it is set to roll out the eighth and final phase of the biometric voter registration exercise on Saturday, October 27 which runs until November 9 in Mzuzu City, Nkhata Bay, Likoma and Mzimba.

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