A new Afrobarometer survey shows that most Malawians do not trust the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) and believe the quality of elections has declined following events surrounding the nullified May 21 2019 presidential poll.
But the survey has also found that 68 percent of Malawians see the courts as impartial and trustworthy.
On Monday, the High Court sitting as a Constitutional Court in Lilongwe nullified the presidential election results on the basis of serious irregularities in the results management process by MEC.
Meanwhile, governance and political commentators have said the results are not surprising, calling for serious policy reforms for MEC.
The survey, released yesterday, indicates that most respondents found the declaration of results by MEC as faulty, as it was perceived to have lacked impartiality and trustworthiness.
It reads in part: “Among key public institutions, the courts were second only to the Malawi Defence Force [78 percent] in perceived impartiality. Only four in 10 Malawians [40 percent] saw the MEC as impartial…”
In an interview, governance expert Makhumbo Munthali said there is need for serious policy reforms at MEC especially in the appointment of commissioners, as advised by the Constitutional Court.
On his part, University of Livingstonia-based political analyst George Phiri said the protests against MEC last year were proof that Malawians have lost trust in the electoral body.
MEC director of media and public relations Sangwani Mwafulirwa said the body will continue striving to deliver credible elections.
He said: “MEC will continue to strive to deliver credible elections. We will take advantage of any upcoming electoral activity to reshape the perceptions and views the public have of MEC so that next time these statistics will be different.” In Malawi, the Afrobarometer team, which is led by the Centre for Social Research at the University of Malawi, interviewed 1 200 adult Malawians in November and December 2019.