Commissioner Nancy Tembo of Malawi Electoral Commissioner (MEC) has advised monitors of political parties and independent candidates to jack-up when monitoring the next week’s by-elections’ polling and result counting to avoid misleading their masters.
Commissioner Tembo who is also chairperson of the Media, Civic and Voter Education Committee said this in an interview on the sideline of meetings with chiefs and stakeholders that took place in Kasungu Lifupa ward at the Headquarters of TA Lukwa and ST/A Mawawa on Monday and T/A Kaphaizi and T/A Mwase on Tuesday respectively.
Tembo stressed the need for all contesting political parties and candidates to place monitors with numeracy and literacy skills for them to monitor the polling process objectively.
She said it is so sad and unfortunate for a party or candidate to claim that elections were rigged when their monitors were present and involved at every stage of polling.
“During the tripartite elections we had some challenges with some Presiding Officers as they could not competently fill the result sheet besides political Monitors who did not know their work despite being trained,” said Tembo.
To avoid similar challenges she said MEC recruited presiding officers based on merit and experience on polling procedures other than automatic use of head teachers of centers as was the case previously.
The commissioner said all the polling staff will undergo an intensive training prior to by-elections and has asked all interested party monitors to attend in order for them to gain knowledge that will help them monitor objectively.
However she said It is upon the political parties and candidates themselves to make sure that their monitors are well trained and equipped with knowledge on how they actively moniter processes especially on vote counting to avoid disagreement that occur when announcing results.
“The best and proper thing to do is for them (party and candidate) to train their representatives and make sure they have a copy of result sheet of every centre to help them crosscheck whenever their candidate or party is not satisfied with the outcome of results,” said Tembo.
MEC allows all contesting political parties and independent candidates to have a maximum of two monitors per voting stream one at a time.
Speaking earlier during the meeting that brought together electoral stakeholders Senior Chief Mawawa commended MEC for the timely meeting which he said has reminded them of their duties ahead of the by-election and an eye opener to first-time voters, who were registered after attained the age of 18 after May 20, or will turn 18 by October 7 as they have a chance to know the polling processes.
According to MEC all 7 October by-elections polling centers will open 6 0clock in the morning and closes 6 in the afternoon and Vote counting will start immediately after polling at the centers and results shall be tallied at the Teacher Development Centres (TDCs).
The Commission will announce the results any day from 9th to 15th October, 2014 at the tally centre MEC headquarters in Blantyre.
By-elections for Member of Parliament will take place in two constituencies of Thyolo East and Blantyre North and Five local government elections in Machinga Likwenu, Lisanjala Ward, Kandeu Ward in Ntcheu North East, Lifupa Ward in Kasungu West, Mbalachanda Ward in Mzimba Central and Zgeba Ward in Karonga Nyungwe.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :