With 10 days to the long-awaited May 21 Tripartite Elections, a report by the ICT Association of Malawi (Ictam) has noted some gaps in the results management system that Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) tested last week, and suggested improvements to the same.
Besides network glitches that MEC already noted, Ictam findings reveal a number of other hitches and the body has recommended, to the commission, to take some steps to ensure that the operational side of the transmission system is ready for elections day.
Ictam president Bram Fuzudzulani said his association, as a key stakeholder in the ICT expert stakeholder group working with the MEC ICT team and all political parties’ ICT expert representatives, took part in MEC’s first ever dry test run last week to gauge the system’s weaknesses or bottlenecks.
During the test, the association, among other things, assessed issues to do with congestion over the network and possibility of unlawful access to the network, to determine MEC’s readiness in handling electronic transmission of results.
Among other observations, Ictam noted that there was lack of clarity to confirm that results from a constituency tally centre had successfully been uploaded and that MEC did not also place independent
was almost empty during mass, which was said by another priest. The visiting priest was at pains to explain what had happened to his colleague, but he assured us that all will be fine.”The following Sunday, the church
One of the church members who have stopped attending mass at the parish, Malita Chimwaza of Macheche Village in Traditional Authority Mlumbe in the district, echoed Tsegula’s sentiments that church members were disturbed by their priest’s involvement in the case.
She said his arrest has shaken the foundation of her faith; hence, her decision to give herself a break.
“I could not help, but cry like a baby when I first listened to Zodiak [radio] on his arrest because he was one of the best priests we have ever had.
“He was always there for you in bad and good times, regardless of your status. I have no energy to go to church again because of what happened to him,” Chimwaza said tearfully.
The catechist, who has been serving at the parish since 2003, and the visiting priest refused to confirm the number of Christians who have stopped going to church because of Fr Muhosha’s arrest, on account that the issue is still in court.
being a much endangered species that I am now—not knowing what will happen to me on May 21—whether my party wins or not, I am still an endangered species.
“And when he asked me to be here, I wondered what could be in his head. Is he trying to tell me that for the last time I will represent my country or he still has confidence in me? So, people in my position have a lot of things to think about these days. Your Excellency, talked about elections…I can assure you when it concerns you it is not as exciting as you made it clear,” said Gondwe amid laughter and murmurs.
Gondwe painted a picture of how hard the DPP is working to retain power. He said for the past two months he has not done anything else but going round canvassing for votes. But even with this effort, according to Gondwe, he is not so certain if his party will win or not.
“I always try to see, to gauge what these people are thinking – will they support my party or not. They never give you an indication. These are anxious days for me and a number of other people,” he added.
In 2014, DPP made a 36.4 percent surprise presidential votes win from the opposition, beating incumbent president Joyce Banda whose People’s Party (PP) came third. MCP came second, with a difference of about 400 000 votes.
Turning to his prepared speech, Gondwe thanked the EU and other development partners for the untiring support they provide to Malawi.
In an interview, EU Ambassador Sandra Paesen said she hoped for peaceful elections.
With rigging claims making rounds, the EU envoy expressed confidence in the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) that it will hold free and fair elections. She said the rigging claims were just an indication of emotions getting high ahead of the polls.
The DPP has three main rivals in this election—Malawi Congress Party (MCP), which is in alliance with former president Joyce Banda’s People’s Party (PP) and Freedom Party (PP), Vice-President Saulos Chilima’s UTM and the United Democratic Front which has Minister of Health Atupele Muluzi as its torchbearer.n
centres during the dry test runs.independent auditors in all the
MEC announced that this year, it would place independent auditors in all tally centres to audit, verify and document everything that is happening at the results capturing and transmission centres.
“We felt the auditors should have also taken part in the dry test runs to simulate their role and if possible work out all possible friction, which may be anticipated on the actual day,” reads Ictam’s report issued this week.
On physical security, Ictam also noted that there were no CCTV cameras in all the tally centres to ensure that all processes happening in the rooms were being taped and kept off site for future reference and auditing.
The association has, among others, recommended that MEC engages the services of an independent security expert to perform a systems security check and audit and produce a report to the stakeholders before the elections.
It has also recommended that the system must undergo a thorough uality assurance assessment by an independent expert, to ensure that its behaviour is compliant with the industry specifications and with the final expectations.
“The whole exercise of transmitting the election results electronically relies on availability of network connection in all the centres,” the report advises.
MEC spokesperson Sangwani Mwafulirwa said the commission was working towards improving the system following Ictam suggestions, and other aspects the electoral body discovered on their own during the test.
“You may wish to note that we are conducting a second round of training for equipment operators just to be sure that they have mastered everything,” said Mwafulirwa.
MEC is expected to conduct a second round of dry test tomorrow [May 13] at all the 197 tally centres across the country.