Friday, May 22, 2015

Malawi: Watchdog ays Malawi's presidential elections were nneither credible nor fair

By Geoffrey Banda
As a solid year gone since Malawi's ever 2014 Tripartite Election, a new civil society report describes it as "Neither Fair nor Credible".

The report titled Election Situation Room: Analysis of the 2014 Tripartite Elections in Malawi which has just been launched is among other things calling for reforms in the country's electoral processes and systems including enhancing the independence and technical capacity of the Malawi Election Commission (MEC).

According to the report the elections were neither fair nor credible due to abuse of state resources by the incumbent and flaws in the voter's roll, poor management of the voting process and announcement of results.

The report finds that most of the challenges experienced in the 2014 elections have been experienced in previous elections, but due to lack of political will there has been a failure to put corrective measures in place.

It further states that the power of incumbency and its associated advantages severely hindered the players' ability to seize the opportunity.

"Use of state resources, acts of patronage, gift giving, rewards to chiefs and other civic readers created an environment in which the incumbents both at presidential and parliamentary levels, were duly advantaged that those in the opposition and newcomers in the race", reads part of the report.

On other hand, the report states that the elections were free because those qualified to vote were accorded the opportunity to exercise their right with considerable efforts put in place to remove obstacles.

When Malawi24 wanted to know how the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) rated the report, Commissioner Reverend Emmanuel Chimkwita Phiri described it as helpful and will assist in reformation of electoral system in the country.

"We have received this report gladly, as MEC we are happy working with organizations like these ones in Malawi because when we have more actors they see more areas that we don't see", said Chimkwita.

Steve Duwa, chairperson for MESN said a report carries clear picture of what was happening on the ground during all electoral processes and it is described as Neither Fair nor Credible because of questionability of some of the processes.

"Election Situation Room: Analysis of the 2014 Tripartite Elections in Malawi report" is a summary of findings of the Malawi Election Information Centre (MEIC) an initiative of a coalition of civil society organizations (CSOs) with a common interest in collaborating on activities related to the 2014 tripartite elections, led by the Malawi Electoral Support Network (MESN).

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