Despite rising cases of political violence, Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) is positive it will deliver free, fair, credible, transparent and cost-effective May 21 2019 Tripartite Elections.
MEC commissioner Mary Nkosi sounded confident yesterday during a meeting with media managers in Lilongwe where spokespersons of political parties represented in Parliament were also in attendance, among other stakeholders.
Her sentiments followed fears that have emerged that MEC is likely to preside over an election marred by violence, looking at the current political tension some political parties are allegedly fueling.
Responding to a question on MEC’s preparedness to professionally handle the upcoming elections, Nkosi said MEC was prepared to deal with any eventualities, but left the solution to deal with the current spate of political violence to the security agencies.
She said: “We are following the programme as we outlined it. As far as we are concerned, we still focus on delivering free, fair, credible, transparent and cost-effective elections.”
In an interview later, Nkosi said one strategy to reduce cases of violence is to incorporate the media in the electoral cycle.
But, while commending MEC for sticking to the electoral programme so far, Malawi Congress Party (MCP) and People’s Party (PP) noted that the current political landscape, which they termed as ‘volatile’, is not inspiring that Malawi will have free and fair elections.
MCP publicity secretary Maurice Munthali said it was not the absence of the code of conduct that can cause violence but compliance to the rules which are already there.
“How can we have fair elections when there is violence outside where nobody is checking that violence? We hope it is not only about responsible reporting, but it Is also about making elections fair and good enough,” he said.
PP publicity secretary Ackson Kalaile-Banda also observed that the current political tension was giving an impression that the forthcoming elections will not be held in an accountable, fair and transparent manner.
During the meeting, Nation Publications Limited (NPL) deputy chief executive officer Alfred Ntonga asked MEC to explain the dwindling numbers of voters in some districts.
He said: “In 2014, the number of people who voted was more but this year the numbers of registered voters have declined significantly, also considering that the country’s population has grown. What does it entail?”
Others who exerted pressure on MEC on its preparedness included Salima North West legislator Jessie Kabwila, who was invited to the workshop as the leader for Women’s Caucus in Parliament to represent voices of fellow women at all levels.
She demanded answers from MEC on the solutions the commission is providing, noting that many women who are aspiring for political positions in their respective parties are being despised.
In response, Wellington Katantha, who was one of presenters from MEC, assured participants that the commission has done all it can to ensure that it will hold free, fair, credible and transparent elections because it now has the best voters register than before.
The workshop, which drew almost all media houses in the country, is expected to end today with calls from the media fraternity that the commission should also engage party spokespersons for a mutual understanding on their need for information.