The Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) has assured all political parties and civil society organisations that the constituency boundary delimitation exercise will be a transparent process whereby all stakeholders will be given an opportunity to participate.
Commissioner Steven Duwa Phiri gave the assurance during the closing of a four-day training on Building Resources In Democracy, Governance and Elections (BRIDGE) course on Boundary Delimitation on 4 December 2020 in Mangochi.
“Let me assure you that the demarcation exercise will be a very transparent, inclusive and participatory process. Every stakeholder will be given opportunity to share their views and contribute to the process,” said Commissioner Duwa.
He added: “While on this I should emphasise that the Commission’s engagement with stakeholders will be through the established channels.
“We would love to receive all ideas and feedback through official channels to avoid creating room for accusation of gerrymandering”.
The Commissioner, who also chairs the Media, Civic and Voter Education Committee of the Commission, assured the participants that the MEC will release a calendar of events for the whole exercise before it starts.
While acknowledging that the demarcation exercise will not be a simple undertaking considering the interests at play, the Commissioner said MEC was doing everything possible to prepare internally and also prepare stakeholders.
“To that extent the Commission wants to take some calculated and cautious steps in the implementation of this exercise. Public funds will be used and the Commission does not want to use them on a futile exercise whose final report could be rejected by the National Assembly,” he said.
Section 76 (5)(b) of the Constitution of the Republic of Malawi says the National Assembly shall confirm all determinations by the Electoral Commission with regard to the drawing up of constituency boundaries but may not alter the boundaries of any constituency, except upon the recommendation of the Electoral Commission.
Speaking on behalf of the participants, Dr Elias Chakwera, who is Director of Elections for the Malawi Congress Party (MCP), hailed the course as an eye opener that had given them more technical information on how demarcation is conducted.
“It is an honour to be part of the historic occasion whereby MEC brought us together to be part of this training that will lead us to the demarcation process.
“We are happy with the training and we go out as ambassadors of the demarcation process. It is our expectation that MEC will involve us throughout the process,” he said.
The course was funded by the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) and also the UNDP basket fund which is contributed by the EU; Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) UK, Irish Aid and USAID.
The participants were secretaries general and directors of elections from political parties that contested in the May 2019 Tripartite Elections and umbrella bodies of civil society organisations.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :