Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) has called for regular review of electoral processes to improve the conduct and management of future polls.
MEC commissioner Arthur Nanthuru said this in Blantyre yesterday when he opened a June 23 2020 Fresh Presidential Election Review Meeting during which the electoral body engaged district commissioners (DCs)to assess the poll.
The commissioner called on electoral stakeholders to think outside the box and come up with innovative means of attracting more voters in future.
In the fresh presidential election, out of 6 859 570 registered voters, only 4 445 699 participated.
Nanthuru, therefore, challenged district commissioners to carry out an analysis of the past election and identify areas that need improvement.
He said: “We want to learn from the people that implemented the decisions that the commission made, learn from the mistakes that were and discuss how they can be addressed. We will also look at laws and policies. For example, if the delegates feel counting of votes at night does not make sense, the commission might wish to engage other stakeholders and see how that can be resolved.”
Some delegates to the meeting spoke of the need for Parliament to fill legislative gaps by working on the Electoral Reforms Bills so that elections are conducted in a transparent and credible manner.
On his part, Mulanje DC Stallichi Mwambiwa called for the need to review the period within which MEC is required to announce election results, saying eight days are not enough for analysis of votes and review of all complaints, particularly during tripartite elections.
He said voter apathy and an increased number of null and void votes were some of the major challenges his district faced during the fresh presidential election.
Said Mwambiwa: “Over 80 000 registered voters did not show up and we had a significant number of null and void votes. I think this had to do with poor voter civic education.
“I would like to ask MEC to conduct research and provide an electoral lens on why most elections face voter apathy so that other stakeholders can come in to help resolve the challenges.”
When announcing the June 23 fresh presidential election results, MEC chairperson Justice Chifundo Kachale mentioned financial constraints and limited preparation time as some of the challenges the electoral body faced in conducting the election.