Malawi presidential candidates’ debate taskforce formed

The Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) has announced the formation of a task force for presidential candidates’ debates.

This comes barely a few months before Malawians go to the polls to elect their leaders in tripartite elections slated for May 20, 2014.

MEC Director of Media and Public Relations, Sangwani Mwafulirwa said the task force has been formulated in line with MEC’s 2014 electoral calendar which includes presidential debates as one of the key activities ahead of the elections.

Mwafulirwa said around the world, presidential candidates’ debates are used to enable citizens to learn more about their candidates and their policies in order to make informed electoral choices.

Malawi 2014 presidential candidates: Joyce Banda, Peter Mutharika, Atupele Muluzi and Lazarus Chakwela

Malawi 2014 presidential candidates: Joyce Banda, Peter Mutharika, Atupele Muluzi and Lazarus Chakwela

“With technical support from the National Democratic Institute (NDI), the taskforce will work on all preparatory, organizational and production aspects of the presidential candidates’ debates.

“Members of the task force have been drawn from various civil society organizations and broadcast media houses basing on the expertise and some already had plans to conduct the presidential debates.

“In addition, we anticipate the presidential candidates’ debates will provide an important public space to generate dialogue on citizen interests regarding the future and direction of Malawi,” said Mwafulirwa.

He said the taskforce under the Chairmanship of MEC, will operate independently to undertake the responsibilities such as to discuss and agree on the modalities of holding the presidential candidates debates, decide in collaboration with MEC, the dates and venue of the debates, agree on the number of debates to be conducted and themes and the duration of each debate.

Mwafulirwa said other duties of the taskforce include developing parameters for media outlets to be used for airing the debates and working out the budget for hosting the debates among others.

The list of organizations that are forming the task force includes the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC), National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI), Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP), Public Affairs Committee (PAC) and National Initiative for Civic Education Trust (NICE).

Other organizations are the Centre for Multiparty Democracy (CMD), Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA)-Malawi Chapter, Malawi Electoral Support Network (MESN), Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC), Zodiak Broadcasting Station (ZBS) and the Malawi Human Rights Commission.

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