- We were not invited—EU
- They do more tourism than observing elections— Commentator
For the first-time ever, Malawi is likely to conduct an election without international observers because, according to the Head of European Union (EU) Mission Ivo Hoefkens, MEC did not extend an invitation to them.
“The European Union will not be sending an election observation mission. Normally there should be a formal request, but up until this point there hasn’t been such an invitation,” Hoefkens told privately-owned Zodiak Broadcasting Station (ZBS).
Our efforts to hear from Malawi Electoral Commission on whether it it invited EU observers for the Tuesday election proved futile.
Since the annulment of the May 21 2019 presidential election, some Malawians have been expressing reservations on value-addition the international observers bring to the elections.
A 2020 Pre-election and Governance Survey conducted by the Zomba-based Institute of Public Opinion and Research (Ipor), found that most Malawians have no trust in international observers compared to local ones.
The survey asked Malawians about the value of the presence of party monitors and election observers in ensuring that the forthcoming fresh presidential election could be considered free and fair.
But the findings show that Malawians rank international observers lower than they rank party monitors and domestic observers from within Malawi in ensuring elections integrity.
About 93 percent of Malawians said political party monitors were important, followed by 87 percent saying the same about observers from within Malawi while 69 percent said international observers were better.
Governance and political scientist Henry Chingaipe, commenting on the perceptions after Ipor released their findings, observed that the added value of international observers was almost zero.
“They do more tourism than observing the elections,” claimed Chingaipe.
National Initiative for Civic Education (Nice) executive director Ollen Mwalubunju said it was high time the country started domesticating its elections and own them without international observers.