The Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) says it cherishes financial and human support it gets from the African Union (AU) which allows it to conduct Building Resources in Democracy, Governance and Elections (Bridge) trainings.
MEC chairperson Maxon Mbendera said this when he opened a Bridge training on electoral dispute resolution for MEC commissioners and management and general secretaries of political parties in Blantyre on Monday.
He said MEC is proud to conduct Bridge trainings because of their prestige and depth of information, adding the current training contributes to its preparedness for the 2019 polls.
Said Mbendera: “As a commission, we cherish this kind of support and applaud the AU for the commitment to support the commission to build its capacity. Believe you me, we always find ourselves in a much different context and with much vigour to deliver the best election whenever we have had these trainings.”
Head of AU Southern Region office Salif Sall said the trainings indicate the AU’s continuous engagement in Malawi, particularly at the technical level to ensure that MEC continuously improves its capacity to manage elections.
He said the Bridge trainings form part of the AU Commission’s follow-up programmes aimed at helping electoral bodies and national actors to implement recommendations observers made during the last elections.
“As you know, the African Union, together with other international organisations, observed the elections here in Malawi in 2014 and, at the end of the mission, made a number of recommendations aimed at enhancing the electoral process. It is important that most of those recommendations be implemented before the next elections,” said Sall.
Bridge is a joint project of International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (Idea), International Foundation for Electoral Systems (Ifes), the Australian Electoral Commission, the United Nations (UN) Electoral Assistance Division and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).