Malawi Electoral Support Network (Mesn) says it has started engaging donors to fund civil society organisations (CSOs) ahead of a fresh election to be held within 150 days of the Constitutional Court ruling on February 3.
Mesn chairperson Steven Duwa said in an interview yesterday that the organisation has set aside funds for conducting voter civic education as well as voter and domestic observations throughout the electoral process.
He said Mesn has managed to engage some stakeholders but since these are unplanned elections, the stakeholders are yet to decide on how they can support the CSOs.
Said Duwa: “This is the first time to have a fresh election in Malawi, there is need for more sensitization among the electorate as well as voters to avoid confusion among the voters.”
He said Mesn has so far approached UNDP, the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DfID) and the United States Agency for International Development (USaid).
Duwa added that the need to have intensive civic and voter education should be a priority as voters may be less motivated to participate in the fresh election considering they recently voted in the May 21 2019 Tripartite Elections whose presidential election the Constitutional Court nullified on February 3 following irregularities.
“There is need for people to be motivated and understand why they should take part in the fresh election,” he added.
Mesn has since urged MEC to release the electoral calendar as early as possible and development partners to mobilise resources and support both government and the electoral body in the fresh polls.
“We urge MEC to expedite electoral calendar after the certainty of how and when fresh elections will be conducted,” he concluded.
Meanwhile, Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) national coordinator for civic education Boniface Chibwana said they have put in place a number of interventions to enhance peace and build social cohesion among communities in preparation for the fresh election.
“As a governance and advocacy arm of the Episcopal Conference of Malawi, we are focusing on citizen engagement on citizens’ right and responsibility to vote. To avoid voter apathy, we are planning to scale up our civic and voter education to encounter potential voter apathy,” he said.
Chibwana said CCJP is also considering to raise awareness and amplify citizen engagement on the 50 Percent Plus One elections system since people are not conversant with it.