By Mandy Pondani:
Livingstonia Synod of the Church of Central Africa Presbyterian (CCAP), through its Church and Society Programme (CSP), wants the Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) to strengthen its dispute-address system if the country is to have credible elections in future.
In a preliminary statement on the May 21 Tripartite Elections, the synod urges Mec to be transparent to the electorate throughout the election period to avoid cases of suspicion.
CSP Executive Director, Moses Mkandawire, has signed the statement.
“CSP observed that this year’s elections were generally free.
“However, with concerns on the use of public resources in campaigning and issues with the counting and reconciliation of votes being considered in court, we cannot attest to the credibility and fairness of the election,” reads the statement released on June 3 2019.Advertisement
The synod observes that some anomalies arose during the elections because Mec did not train polling staff properly.
On the contentious issue of voter transfers, the synod has called on Mec to allow people to vote at centres closer to them on polling day.
On polling day this year, there was tension at St Augustine Polling Centre in Mzuzu after Mzuzu University students were barred from voting before Mec rescinded its decision.
“Travelling to vote can be costly and disruptive and hinders people from exercising their right to vote,” the statement adds.
The synod has also urged newly elected members of Parliament to swiftly look at electoral reform recommendations.
Youth and Society Executive Director Charles Kajoloweka, who was leader of the consortium that championed the Youth Decide campaign, shared the synod’s position on the elections.
“It is an open secret that there was highly organised fraud of the tripartite elections. We, as a nation, need to come together and hold authorities accountable in order to deal with such criminal elements,” Kajoloweka said.
Mec spokesperson, Sangwani Mwafulirwa, told our sister paper, The Sunday Times, over the weekend that the commission maintains its stand that the elections were fair and credible.