Hands off MEC, Malawi Churches call for continued patience

Churches in Malawi say the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) must be left to itself to work towards fulfilling its mandate.

The Malawi Council of Churches (MCC) adds the current May 20th vote results impasse has created fear, anxiety, and uncertainty.

Entitled ‘Towards Peaceful Electoral Results Discource – Malawi Council of Churches call for Peaceful Conduct and Credible Results’ .

Released after a meeting Tuesday 27th May from Balaka, the Council says: “The delay of the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC),to release results as expected has created hopelessness among Malawians. This situation has brought with it anxiety and fear amongst the Malawian population, and has other negative connotations to their welfare.

MCC Board minus absent Mrs. Madinga. Centre is Maulana
MCC Board minus absent Mrs. Madinga. Centre is Maulana

“Productivity has slowed down due to uncertainty, the economy is threatened to fall, and ordinary people are not sure about what will transpire the following day due to the growing tension.”

The Churches said as the church and voice of the people it realises with deep concern that people have lost hope and that there is fear and uncertainty in the country.

“We therefore called for the Council’s Executive Board to urgently meet and seek to add its voice to the on-going impasse. The core objectives are to advocate for peace; remove fear and uncertainty; and give direction to all stakeholders especially politicians who also belong to our member churches and other faith groupings,”states the release signed by all its board members and the General Secretary.

The Council also applauds MEC’S bold move to accept that they indeed faced overwhelmed challenges which culminated from inadequate polling materials and thereby led to anomalies to the process.

Irregularities include electoral results exceeding the number of people registered at some polling centres, inadequate polling materials, and untimely handling of complaints lodged by political parties.

Political parties and other contesting leaders are also commended by the church for asking their followers to exercise the utmost patience and maintain peaceful coexistence during this standoff.

“The Malawi Council of Churches therefore wishes to call on all stakeholders across the country to let the Malawi Electoral Commission to freely exercise its mandated role and work to the best interest of all stakeholders within the law, as they conduct an audit count, and move to release results. MEC must continue their commendable work including conducting an Audit Count and ensure to operate within the parameters of their mandate,”pleads the church.

The Council also calls on everybody to “Stop any political interference to the work of MEC. Only MEC is mandated to run elections in Malawi and political parties and all other stakeholders should respect this fact. MEC must work to serve Malawians and not political parties or leaders.”

Opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), the Malawi Congress Party (MCP) and some politicians have been to court to influence direction of the MEC. And the ruling People’s Party (PP) has tried through the sitting President to annull all results and called for fresh polls in 90 days.

The Council also calls on MEC to ensure honesty, trustworthy and be credible in its conduct so that results will be accepted by all stakeholders when they are made ready.

“Credibility is the most important issue at hand, and MEC must ensure that Malawians are given a true reflection of their vote, having freely and peacefully voted themselves,”says MCC.

The Malawi Council of Churches, says the statement, therefore calls upon all electoral stakeholders, MEC; political leaders and their parties; all contestants in the Presidential, Parliamentary and Council elections; all people of good will; and all Malawians to continue to exercise high levels of patience and maturity.

The statement was signed by Rev. Alex Benson Maulana (Chairperson), members Bishop Gilford Matonga, Rev. Dr. Timothy Nyasulu, Bishop Brighton Malasa, Rev. Moreen Tchuwa, Rev. Nelson Nyangáma, Mrs. Yasinta Mtambo, and General Secretary Rev. Dr. Osborne Joda-Mbewe.

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