Elections Observation Consortium, a grouping of local non-governmental organisations (NGOs), has asked Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) to grant its observers accreditation in some areas where they are being denied the status.
In a statement at the weekend, the consortium comprising National Initiative for Civic Education (Nice) Trust, Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) and Public Affairs Committee (PAC) said in the absence of international observers in tomorrow’s fresh presidential election local observers are critical.
While describing the barring of local observers as counterproductive, the statement, signed by the consortium’s chairperson Boniface Chibwana, said their monitors are being denied accreditation in Balaka, Mangochi, Chitipa, Ntcheu and Nsanje districts.
Reads the statement in part: “We urge local authorities, who are district commissioners [DCs] operating as district elections officers, to rescind their decisions and act with utmost speed, considering the limited available time before elections are held.”
MEC electoral rules and regulations mandate elections officers, in their duty stations, to grant accreditation to observers deployed by their respective organisations or institutions.
Speaking at a press conference in Blantyre last evening, MEC chairperson Chifundo Kachale said the electoral body is in contact with the consortium and they are working on addressing the issue.
The consortium contends that with no international election observers, the importance of having in place local observers cannot be overemphasised.
The three local NGOs announced their partnership on June 11, indicating they will conduct voter and civic education as well as election observation following reports that the international observers will not be available for the fresh presidential election.
Chibwana told the media during the launch of the consortium in Lilongwe that their agreement to work together is based on the need for Malawians to be adequately informed on the election.
Nice Trust executive director Ollen Mwalubunju is also on record as having said, among other things, that the consortium will track electoral-related incidents, including political violence for appropriate and timely interventions.
He said the consortium will also facilitate dialogue and, where necessary, undertake conflict resolution mechanisms.
On June 4, the European Union (EU) told The Nation that it will not deploy its election observer mission for the court-ordered fresh presidential poll because Malawi did not extend an invitation.
MEC is expected to hold the fresh presidential election tomorrow following a February 3 2020 judgement of a five-judge panel of the High Court of Malawi sitting as a Constitutional Court that nullified the May 21 2019 presidential election results due to irregularities, especially in the results management system.