MECS sets March 1 as deadline for submission of election monitors

Written by  Patricia Mtungila - MEC Stringer

The Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) has set the 1st of March as the last day for receiving names and photographs of election monitors for accreditation from political parties and candidates that are contesting in the May 21 Tripartite Elections.

Mwafulirwa issued  the statement Mwafulirwa issued the statement

According to an emailed notice issued by the MEC Spokesperson Sangwani Mwafulirwa on Sunday, MEC has also said that it will limit the number of monitors that each political party and candidate can field to two per a constituency tally center to avoid unnecessary congestion.

“The resolution of the Commission is that only candidates and political parties contesting the election will have their representatives accredited as monitors. Every party or independent candidate will be allowed only two monitors at the constituency tally centre. This is to avoid congestion at the centre because in most cases these areas usually small,” reads the email communication.

The Electoral Body has further asked non-state actors to also submit the names of their electoral monitors for proper accreditation to be allowed to monitor the elections from the polling stations by same March 1.

According to Mwafulirwa, the political parties and independent presidential candidates in this year’s elections will be allowed to provide a maximum of four monitors at the District Council offices while MEC will allow for the political parties and independent presidential candidates to provide up to ten monitors to monitors the elections from the National Tally Centre, Chichiri International Conference Centre in Blantyre.

The MEC Spokesperson, further explained, in an interview, that election monitoring is one way of dispelling the rumors of rigging that some politicians are propagating and ensuring that the nation attains credible elections.

“On the polling day, there will be two registers; one for polling staff and the other for monitors. The monitors will also be checking that, whoever comes to vote, their face is the same as the one in the voter register," Mwafulirwa explained.

During the voter registration exercise for the May 21 Tripartite elections, only a handful of the country’s political parties stationed monitors at all voter registration centers, a situation which MEC blamed for fueling rumors and suspicion in the electoral process.

Meanwhile, political parties in the Northern Region have already committed to comply with MEC’s March 1 deadline for submission of names of monitors. The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP)’s Regional Governor Kenneth Sanga affirmed the DPP’s readiness to provide the names of the monitors before the deadline.

“As DPP, we are ready; we will submit the names of the monitors as required by the 1st of March. What we will do now is to advise our Constituency Governors on the monitors. And on the 21st of May [the Polling Day] we will provide the monitors with what they need in terms of food and all the requirements as we always do,” Sanga said.

On its part, the Malawi Congress Party (MCP) through its Spokesperson Reverend Maurice Munthali said that MCP is currently scrutinizing potential monitors to ensure that only informed members of the Party are recruited for election monitoring.

Munthali also called for tolerance and patriotism among those that will be selected to monitor the elections for MCP.

“As Malawi Congress Party, we know the MEC calendar. We are prepared that by the date required for submission of the names of monitors, we would have done our homework.

“We may not have the funds readily available, but we are asking for members of the party to support this and also for those who will become monitors to work with patriotism and dedication because this is a national service,” Munthali said.

Pressure, tension and excitement is mounting in Malawi’s political parties as the nation draws close to the country’s second Tripartite Election since the dawn of multi-party democracy.

Nine candidates including Leader of Opposition Dr. Lazarus Chakwera, Vice President Dr. Saulos Chilima, Former President Dr. Joyce Banda and, President Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika are expected to battle for the vote to become Malawi’s next president.

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