News / Africa

Uganda Seeks Electoral Lessons from Malawi

Lameck Masina

A delegation from the Uganda Electoral Commission has completed a weeklong visit to Malawi to study voter education processes.  Some analysts question whether Uganda can learn anything from Malawi’s recent flawed elections.

Uganda has less than two years to prepare for national elections and this time, election officials say they want to do a better job.

Speaking to reporters Wednesday in Blantyre, the director of operations at the Uganda Electoral Commission, Leonard Mulekwa, explained why his three-person delegation came to Malawi.

“We did our last election in 2011 and we did post-election review.  And people and political parties told us we did not do enough on voter education.  So, we were following the Malawi election and we were seeing there was big turnout of people at rallies, big turnout of people at registration centers.  So we thought maybe there is something Malawi is doing to mobilize these people which we may not be doing,” he stated.

Malawian officials brought their Ugandan counterparts to civil society groups which were instrumental in getting information to the electorate.

Mulekwa said they can learn a lot from groups like Malawi's National Initiative for Civic Education, which distributed information about voting in public places.

“For example, if you look at things like procession walks; going to health units where mothers are at antenatal, immunization; going to market places; even writing letters to parents and all categories of leaders.  These were very new initiatives to us and we think we have picked a lot of lessons from here which when we go back we will urge the commission to adopt,” Mulekwa said.

However, some analysts are raising eyebrows at the idea any country could learn from Malawi after the elections in May were marred by widespread irregularities.

Jessie Kabwila, spokesperson for the opposition Malawi Congress Party, said she thinks the Ugandan delegation was not given the true picture of how Malawi conducted its voter registration.

“For example, civic and voter education in Malawi was problematic from the ethnic perspective.  There was regionalism in the way MEC did it.  For example, when they came to central region, it was all done at one time, yet in other places, specifically in the south, voter education, [it] was done first and voting later but in central region there was a weird things happening, some of the places did not get voter registration,” she stated.

The Malawi Electoral Commission said there weren't any official complaints at any stage of the electoral process.  

Ernest Thindwa is a political science lecturer at the Chancellor College of the University of Malawi.  He said Uganda should look at not only what Malawi did well to prepare for elections but what it didn’t do well.  Shortages of ballot papers and ink sparked anger among voters in some polling centers in Blantyre.  

“One of the challenges Malawi has was not having necessary materials in polling centers at the right time.  So that is the area which Uganda needs to learn that there can be some areas, where if not properly executed, can lead to problems.  So overall there are both positive and negative things Uganda can learn and be attentive to areas where Malawi might have failed,” said Thindwa.

Opposition groups in Uganda have long complained of irregularities in the country's elections.  Longtime President Yoweri Museveni has won the last three elections amid allegations of bribery, intimidation and violence.

Attempts by the opposition to challenge the elections in court have been futile.

You May Like

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

Secret Service Chief Under Fire for White House Security Breach

Julia Pierson faces tough questions from lawmakers after recent intrusion at White House, says: 'It is clear that our security plan was not executed properly' More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihadi
X
Mahi Ramakrishnan
September 30, 2014 2:16 PM
Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid