The British Peace Support Team (BPST) is in the country for a four-day national elections command and control exercise to strengthen the inter-agency working and preparedness among key stakeholders in the May 21 Tripartite Elections.
The exercise, which started yesterday in Lilongwe, has drawn participants from Malawi Defence Force (MDF), Malawi Police Service (MPS) and Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC).
Speaking during the opening, MPS Inspector General Rodney Jose said the exercise was important as it would provide knowledge and skills on effectively contributing towards fair, violence-free and credible elections.
He said: “Elections are not a domain of Malawi Electoral Commission alone, but several other stakeholders. It is, therefore, important to secure support from all key stakeholders and develop a shared vision on how together we can make the entire electoral process successful.”
BPST-Africa exercise delivery team leader Steven O’Donoghue said the exercise was part of the United Kingdom’s (UK) broader package of support to Malawi to conduct free and credible elections in May.
He expressed optimism that Malawi would have a safe election through the strategies put in place by MPS, MDF and MEC.
Said O’Donoghue: “This process this week is to exercise critical decision-making in relation to electoral matters over the three phases of the election—this phase we are now, the pre-election phase, the actual election day and the post-election phase.”
BPST is facilitating the exercise which will examine, validate and test core national capabilities and staff competences at strategic, tactical and operational levels of command by giving participants a chance to practice their roles in likely scenarios that could occur before, during and after the election.
The exercise builds on the police election strategy workshop held last year which led to the development of an election strategy by MPS, MDF and other stakeholders.
Besides supporting the election strategy workshop, the UK has contributed £2.77 million (about K2.6 billion) of UKAid to the UNDP-managed Elections Basket Fund that supports MEC to deliver credible election.
The UK also contributed £1.5 million (about K1.4 billion) in UKAid’s joint contribution with USAid to improve the credibility and integrity of the 2019 Tripartite Elections by supporting civil society oversight and civic voter education.