Malawi’s Electoral Commission has officially invited both local and international poll observers to monitor the May 20 presidential, legislative and local elections, says Sangwani Mwafulirwa, spokesperson for the electoral commission.
Mwafulirwa says Malawi’s first ever tripartite election is generating a lot of interest from both local and international stakeholders, who he says are working with the electoral body as it prepares to administer the upcoming poll.
Advance teams from international poll observer groups now in Malawi include the African Union, the Institute of Sustainable Democracy in Africa the SADC [Southern African Development Community] Electoral Commission’s Forum, and the SADC Parliamentary Forum, according to Mwafulirwa.
“I am glad to say that among the whole list of those we have written to, some have shown positive interest and they have even sent advance teams just to do the fact-finding mission and doing their assessment, and some of them have got intentions to deploy long-term missions,” said Mwafulirwa.
He says some international observers who have expressed interest in monitoring the election are in the country to monitor political activities in the run up to the general election.
“We haven’t had any problems with these observers. They came on a fact finding mission and they have been interacting with the Malawi Electoral Commission staff and commissioners. Apart from that, they have also met with various electoral stakeholders, which have included the civil society and the political parties just to get facts on the preparations for the 20th May elections,” said Mwafulirwa.
The electoral commission has been compiling a voters list to be used for the election.
But, Mwafulirwa says the electoral body suspended the information verification phase of the voter list process due to logistical challenges.
“We had to suspend the exercise and the aim is to allow the electoral commission to address some of the inconsistencies which we experienced in the voters roll,” said Mwafulirwa. “We said maybe we should not proceed with the exercise but we should work on the inconsistencies after we discovered that there was a technical problem. So currently we are working on this issue and we are making good progress,” he said.
Mwafulirwa says he is optimistic that the voter list will be made available next week to the public to verify their information before a final list is compiled to be used for the election.
“We are quite confident that the voters roll which we are going to issue now will be of excellent quality and we don’t expect to experience the [problems] that we [had] before,” said Mwafulirwa.