Friday, February 14, 2014

Malawi: MEC Predicts a High Contest in the Elections

The Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) staff members have been warned never to undermine nor lower the integrity and neutrality of the commission as an electoral body during the forthcoming nomination period.
MEC Chief Electoral Officer, Stanley Billiat issued the warning Friday at Masongola Hotel in Zomba when he opened a one-day nomination data entry clerk training organized to equip MEC clerks with data entry knowledge in readiness for the coming nomination exercise.

Billiat told the gathering that included MEC staff members from the Southern and Eastern regions of the country the commission will not hesitate to sever ties with the employees who will conduct themselves in a manner that tarnishes the image of MEC as an electoral body. When you go to work, you are the ambassadors of the commission. Whatever you do, will not only reflect on you but also the commission. Therefore, be sober and humble by treating all candidates with respect," explained Billiat. The electoral officer also assured the members, of the body's awareness of misconducts displayed by some MEC clerks during the previous registration period, pleading with them not to repeat the same during nominations.

Billiat asked the members to adhere to the rules set out by MEC, if the body is to deliver a free, fair and credible tripartite election.We have set a good foundation which needs to be utilized since May 20 is just around the corner and all eyes are on us. Despite challenges, the voter registration exercise went on successfully and we achieved 94.10 percent of our projection, an attachment which is enviable by most countries." said Billiat. In an interview with the Malawi News Agency (Mana) the MEC Officer said the training would equip MEC staff with data entry techniques that include picture taking skills and ballot paper management among others.

Billiat painted a picture of how closely contested this year's elections will be, hence urging MEC members to take the training seriously. There are 18 presidential nomination forms that have been collected. A total of 22 political parties have collected the forms for parliamentary elections while 21 political parties wish to contest in the 193 constituencies while six parties intend to field a candidate in all the 462 wards according to MEC records. Presentation of nomination papers is set to commence on 10th February, 2014.

Source: Malawi News Agency

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