The Election Observation Consortium has expressed satisfaction with the conduct of yesterday’s court-sanctioned fresh presidential election, noting that the process went on well despite challenges such as funding.
In a preliminary assessment of the election during two separate media briefings at Sunbird Mount Soche in Blantyre, the consortium’s chairperson Boniface Chibwana said the election was a success in a number of areas.
He said these included timely opening of most polling centres, availability of voting materials, timely deployment of security personnel and availability of political party monitors and observers.
Chibwana, who is Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace national coordinator, said: “There were long queues reported in almost 87 percent of polling centres which showed that there was voter enthusiasm to exercise their right to vote. This was, however, as a result of delays in opening of some centres.”
The consortium also reported that at Namikango in Dedza, voting started at 3pm due to missing of the voters roll.
Chibwana said 99 percent of centres opened on time while the remaining one percent delayed due to late delivery of voting materials, 100 percent of security personnel was deployed, maintenance of law and order in 95 percent of centres and 92 percent of polling centres adhered to coronavirus (Covid-19) measures.
But while pointing out that there was reported malfunctioning of equipment in six percent of the centres, he expressed concern over alleged misconduct in Nkhotakota and Salima where suspected ex-military personnel were attacked by community members for allegedly planning to rig the election.
He also bemoaned the torching of a UTM Party vehicle in Phalombe, intimidation of the Episcopal Conference of Malawi (ECM) secretary general Father Henry Saindi at Milala Primary School in Lilongwe North Constituency, violence allegedly perpetrated by political parties members and speculations on social media about alleged pre-marked ballot papers.
Chibwana asked MEC to institute swift remedial actions in areas where some challenges faced have potential to affect the outcome of the results.