Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) Chairperson Dr Jane Ansah expressed optimism that the forth coming by-elections will be free, far and credible, saying the Tripartite Elections which were held in 2014 had some irregularities which have been resolved.
She was speaking in Lilongwe City South East constituency during the launch of the campaign period of the by-elections which will be held in October .
“The Commission endeavours to improve the electoral process to enhance efficiency and effectiveness. In this regard, the Commission has incorporated some elements for these by-elections and beyond,” she said.
The elections will be held in Lilongwe Msozi North Constituency, Lilongwe City South East Constituency, Nsanje Lalanje Constituency, Mayani North Ward in Dedza North Constituency, Mtsiliza Ward in Lilongwe City West Constituency and Ndirande Makata Ward in Blantyre Malabada Constituency.
Speaking during the meeting, Ansah conceded that there were some irregularities during the 2014 Tripartite elections but was quick to say measures have been taken to iron them out.
Ironically, the by-elections in Lilongwe City South East will be held after a court ruling nullified the 2014 results after Malawi Congress Party (MCP) candidate Ulemu Msungama who lost then elections felt he was robbed of the victory.Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) candidate Bentry Namasasu was declared winner.
“After the 2014 elections, there was a postmortem to look at where the elections went wrong and where we did well, from there, we came up with new procedures to improve the results. Just an example, we have added a new column on the results sheet where results will be written in both words and figures just like we did with bank cheques,” she said.
“The Commission has resolved that it will now be inviting senior party or candidate representatives to vouch for the ballot papers proofs before printing to ensure transparency and accountability. For this by-election this will be on 13th September, 2017 in Blantyre,” she said.
Ansah called for peaceful campaign period.
“During this campaign period, the Commission is urging all candidates, political parties and their followers to refrain from inflammatory language because this stirs violence and impinges on other people’s rights to campaign,” she said.
National Initiative for Civic Education (NICE) District Civic Education Officer Hajira Alli said as one way to reach out to voters to avoid voter apathy, the organization will use traditional leaders, churches and public meeting to sensitive the masses on the importance of taking part in the elections.
“We will also organize public debates to enable the candidates to sell their manifestos to the voters,” she said.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :