The Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) Chairperson Justice Maxon Mbendera has called for establishment of an electoral tribunal on dispute resolution among electoral stakeholders in the country , saying the absence of such tribunals puts the Commission, political parties and its members in an awkward position.
“Elections are a struggle and race to get power and disputes are bound to occur,” said Mbendera in Blantyre on Monday at Hotel Victoria.
He was speaking when he opened a five day training on Electoral Dispute Resolution based on the Building Resources in Democracy, Governance and Elections (BRIDGE) curriculum for MEC commissioners and staff and political party secretary generals.
Mbendera sais in other countries like Kenya, they have a tribunal on dispute resolution that is mandated to look into disputes among electoral stakeholders .
“In Malawi we do not have such a such a tribunal and when disputes arose between political parties and the Commission, the Commission arbitrates as it is mandated so by the law. When there are disputes between political parties, often times they seek solace in the courts and the media.
“When there are disputes between political parties and members, we rely on the internal party mechanism to sort them out, if not then the courts,” said Mbendera.
He therefore thanked the African Union Commission for financially supporting the workshop which he said will help MEC build its capacity on crosscutting issues in the electoral process.
“This training is very important as it will contribute to the preparedness for the 2019 elections. I am also delighted at the unique combination of international capacities that MEC is proud to provide to its Commissioners, management and stakeholders,” Mbendera said.
The Head, African Union Southern Region Office African Union Commission Dr. Salif Sada Sall said the trainings were a clear indication of African Union’s continued engagement in Malawi, particularly at the technical level to ensure that MEC continuously improves its capacity to manage elections.
“As you know, the African Union, together with other international organisations, observed the elections here in Malawi in 2014 and at the end of the mission made a number of recommendations aimed at enhancing the electoral process. It is important that most of those recommendations be implemented before the next elections,” Sall said.
The theme of the training is “Election Dispute Resolution.”
The training also seeks to improve team building and strong partnership between the MEC and political parties in Malawi towards building a peaceful and stable democratic society.
BRIDGE is a joint project of International IDEA, IFES, the Australian Electoral Commission, the UN Electoral Assistance Division and UNDP.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :