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

Mugabe Dismisses Male-Female Equality

'It is not possible that women can be at par with men' incoming African Union president declares on eve of summit More

Somali Terror Suspect's Light Sentence Raises Questions

Abdullahi Yusuf, 18, could have spent 15 years in prison but judge instead sentenced him to a halfway house, and a program to try to integrate him back into the community More

Video Kobani Ravaged Following Kurdish Ouster of IS Militants

Even so, hundreds of refugees sheltering in Turkey seek to return; Kurdish forces hold some back, saying fighting continues 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.
Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Goghi
X
George Putic
January 29, 2015 9:43 PM
The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Web

Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Freedom on Decline Worldwide, Report Says

The state of global freedom declined for the ninth consecutive year in 2014, according to global watchdog Freedom House's annual report released Wednesday. VOA's William Gallo has more.
Video

Video MRI Seems to Help Diagnose Prostate Cancer, Preliminary Study Shows

Just as with mammography used to detect breast cancer, there's a lot of controversy about tests used to diagnose prostate cancer. Fortunately, a new study shows doctors may now have a more reliable way to diagnose prostate cancer for high risk patients. More from VOA's Carol Pearson.
Video

Video Smartphones About to Make Leap, Carry Basic Senses

Long-distance communication contains mostly sounds and pictures - for now. But scientists in Britain say they are close to creating additions for our smartphones that will make it possible to send taste, smell and even a basic touch. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video Crowded Republican Presidential Field Off to Early Start for 2016

It seems early, but the 2016 U.S. presidential election campaign is already heating up. Though no one has officially announced a candidacy, several potential Republican contenders have been busy speaking to conservative groups about making a White House run next year. Many of the possible contenders are critical of the Obama administration’s foreign policy record. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid