Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) has emphasised that implementation of electoral reforms is very crucial for successful holding of the 2019 Tripartite Elections.
MEC chairperson of Electoral Services Committee, Jean Mathanga, made the remarks in Mponela, Dowa on Thursday during a meeting on popularisation and prioritisation of the Special Law Commission (SLC) recommendations on the review of electoral laws.
The meeting was organised by the Malawi Electoral Support Network (Mesn) with support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Interestingly, the meeting took place on the day Malawi held a referendum to choose multiparty system of government and democracy in 1993.
Said Mathanga: “Every passing day means less time remaining for us to prepare for the 2019 elections. MEC has always been committed to the cause for electoral reforms since 2014; and, that is why we participated, even co-chaired with the Mesn task force on electoral reforms.”
She emphasised that MEC would appreciate if the reforms “were passed on time” so that there is ample time for their implementation.
“We believe the stakeholders also appreciate the essence of time to effective implementation of the reforms and that they will do the needful. On its part, MEC has taken steps to implement non-legislative reforms and many of these new ideas have been piloted during the by-elections held in-between,” explained Mathanga.
She said through the task force, MEC has managed to share its thoughts and proposals to the effect that now it is easier for the electoral body to discuss electoral reform issues with civil society organisations (CSOs).
“The meeting today is timely and very crucial to the advocacy and lobbying for the implementation of the electoral reforms. The CSOs’ lobby for the electoral reforms can be vibrant and influential if they all talked with one language.
“The meeting we are having today is just one platform that can help the civil society to come up with a single voice on the electoral issues. Therefore, I should thank Mesn for considering it wise to hold this meeting,” Mathanga narrated.
Mesn chairperson Steven Duwa said it is important for MEC to critically look at the proposed electoral legal provisions in the context of “real time” at our disposal for the due processes that lead to the actual legislative processes.
Duwa said this would allow the electoral body and its stakeholders to prioritise recommendations that can be legislated now before a minimal one-year time-frame is compromised.
“Similarly, it is essential that instead of getting carried away with the proposed electoral changes, as if they are solving all what has been affecting elections management in Malawi; we develop a clearer understanding of what needs to be done and when,” he said.