Lilongwe: Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) has confidently projected that the forthcoming 2019 tripartite elections will be conducted credibly following lessons learnt from the previous elections.
MEC spokesperson Sangwani Mwafulirwa told Malawi News Agency (Mana) on Wednesday in an exclusive interview that the electoral body is on course to deliver a credible election, saying a credible voters’ register which is already in place and intact is a base to achieving a reliable election.
He pointed out that credibility of an election is measured by what happens before, during and after the election.
Mwafulirwa added that a credible election is not measured by what happens on the polling day but the entire process which comprise many factors such as civic education, consultative meetings with different stakeholders, voter registration and verification, funding, information dissemination and many more.
We have been commended by stakeholders for a successful voter registration exercise which has made it possible for the institution to hoard a very clean and reliable voter register, this is a very candid requirement for a credible election, said Mwafulirwa in his response to the questionnaire sent to him.
He added that if a voter registration process is messed up, people will be denied the opportunity to register and that the election cannot proceed to be held as a credible one.
When asked to supplement his sentiments as to why he was such confident that MEC will conduct a smoother election as compared to the previous ones, Mwafulirwa was quick to say that a lot has been done in regard to preparations for the 2019 election.
The Malawi Electoral Commission did a postmortem of the 2014 election and other previous elections as well, so there are many administrative measures that have been put in place to ensure that 2019 elections run smoothly.
On the other hand, we are also planning to deliver all non-sensitive materials to polling stations a number of days before polling, on top of that we have also introduced a process of pre-inspecting the polling materials a day before polling to ensure that they are in the right order and quantities, he said.
MEC, in collaboration with all media houses in the country, developed a code of conduct which all media organisations signed in a quest to evade information distortion and level the media landscape.
The MEC spokesperson added that the code of conduct also provides avenues for addressing grievances using relevant organizations like Malawi Communications Regulatory Autholity (MACRA), Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA)-Malawi Chapter and the Media Council of Malawi (MCM).
The anticipation of MEC is that when the media are reporting on elections, they must abide by the dictates of the code of conduct, he said.
MEC is expected to conduct a nationwide voter verification exercise which will commence on December 10, 2018.
Source: Malawi News Agency MANA