MEC for more openness to regain public confidence

Voters checking their names in the voters roll

To ensure that the electoral body is well equipped to deliver credible and well managed elections in 2025, a training workshop on electoral administration and demarcation exercise is underway for its Commissioners and management.

The Building Resources in the Governance of Elections (BRIDGE) training covers fundamental modules on elections and boundary demarcation for the Malawi Electoral Commission to have a fair understanding in managing polls.

Lessons were learnt from the challenges of the 2019 elections whose results were contested in court leading to a ruling which nullified them and ordered fresh presidential polls.

With a new team of Commissioners appointed, chairperson for the electoral services committee Olivia Liwewe hailed the training saying it accords them additional skills needed in preparation for future  polls and an immediate activity before them; the review of ward boundaries and constituencies in the country.

She described it as timely as it contains modules for improved skills in conducting elections according to international standards in line with legal provisions.

In order to serve the public better, she indicated the Commission has continuously opened up in updating the nation on its undertakings and upcoming activities including stakeholder involvement.

Liwewe: Information build public confidence in what MEC is doing. Pic courtesy of MEC

 “We will use the media  as you are our greatest partner in terms of ensuring that we give the messages that will enable people understand everything that we’re doing regardless of how sensitive  the issues is. We believe in information giving, so as much information as people can get, information enables them to be able to relate with us in a matter that continues to build the confidence in what MEC is doing.”

Political parties together with their leaders have been engaged as MEC will be going into the districts to meet opinion and religious leaders and all concerned stakeholders in the current demarcation process.

She acknowledged Malawians are anxiously waiting to see how it will deliver on its mandate in the constituency review exercise in line with the country’s laws.

The Commission has adequate resources to conduct the exercise budgeted at K1.5 billion and Treasury has provided over K500 million in funding with Liwewe upbeat the exercise will finish by end  2022.

Cabacenco: It’s important to have professionalism, neutrality and transparency

International Foundation for Electoral systems (IFES) is supporting MEC with the training through the Malawi electoral integrity programme funded by USAID.

IFES election management program advisor Pavel Cabacenco observed the workshop is coming at an opportune time coinciding with the boundary demarcation exercise and new commissioners having joined the electoral body.

Among others, it brings international experience from other countries and local expertise to the Commissioners giving more credibility to the demarcation exercise.

 “MEC has already provided the information about highlights of this process and with the support of the other electoral stakeholders of course this timeline would be implemented.

“It’s important to understand that elections and all the electoral processes are not only the responsibility of the electoral management body, but of all the stakeholders and that is why it’s important to provide as much information as possible and training to the electoral commission and stakeholders as in all electoral processes it’s important to have professionalism, neutrality and transparency” he added.