Few political parties continue to deploy monitors during the on-going voter registration exercise despite continued calls from Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC).
During an inspection of files from Mzuzu City Council and MEC offices on Tuesday ahead of commencement of the final phase of registration on October 27, it was established that only Assembly for Democracy and Development (ADD), People’s Party (PP), Leadership with Compassion Party (LCP) and Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) have submitted names of monitors.
Mzimba North district MEC elections officer Demeria Rocha said in a recent interview that some of the parties that provide monitors for the voter registration neglect the welfare of their monitors, a development that demotivates them from doing their job as most monitors are left to starve.
“ We have noted that even when parties submit the names of monitors, most of these monitors abandon the centres at lunch hour to search for food and water,” said Rocha.
But Mzuzu and Mzimba North district National Initiative for Civic Education (Nice) civic education officer Wisdom Nyirenda said it is not the duty of MEC but political parties to provide monitors and to care for them.
“This helps to reduce complaints and allegations of rigging during and after the electoral process,” Nyirenda said.
In his remarks, DPP district governor Boyd Phiri said his party resubmitted names of monitors after some of them left the party.
United Democratic Front (UDF) through it’s Regional Secretary Goodson Phiri explained that although his party valued the voter registration exercise, cost implications of providing monitors for voter registration are one of limitations.
“However, for this voter registration, we may not be able to send monitors. The monitors need to be taken care of. But we are making arrangements and we will certainly provide monitors during the actual polling,”said Phiri.
In August this year, MEC chairperson Jane Ansah bemoaned lack of representatives from political parties in the voter registration exercise. She said the presence of party monitors makes the electoral process transparent.