Malawi Parliament has been encouraged to discuss the private members’ Bill due to be tabled by opposition Lilongwe South member of Parliament (Malawi Congress Party-MCP) Peter Dimba proposing changes to how electoral results are managed, including establishment of constituency tally centres.
Dimba will table a Private Members Bill during the current sitting set to introduce seven amendments to the Presidential and Parliamentary Elections Act.
The Bill proposes changes to how electoral results are managed, including establishment of constituency tally centres.
The Nation daily newspaper in its editorial comment on the story it reported, commended “the movement” from some legislators aimed at reviewing electoral laws, which it noted that they have provent to contain “some defects” that affect public confidence.
The paper pointed out that three years since the electoral review processes began, there is little on the ground to give hope that, come 2019, Malawians will participate in an elections governed by a reformed legislation.
“We appear stuck in winning electoral arguments in workshops, seminars, parliaments and lecture rooms than legislating the solutions our electoral process desperately need,” the editorial comment reads in part.
The paper said the country cannot afford “moving in circles” and that it is time Malawi moved with speed in legislation solutions.
The story which The Nation reported said the Bill seeks to amend the Parliamentary and Presidential Elections Act, especially sections relating to the management of results and counting of votes.
Mover of the Bill, Dimba said when passed, the Bill will ensure that every vote cast by the voter is properly counted in the Presidential and Parliamentary elections and that it is “enhancing credibility of the electoral process and its results.”
To ensure that the correct results reach the district tally centre, the Bill seeks to establish constituency tally centres by deleting the words “polling station” from sections 94 and 95 of the PPEA and substituting them with “constituency tally centre.”
According to Dimba, the constituency tally centre is where all results from the polling centres would be tallied.
“This is where the constituency returning officer shall on behalf of the Malawi Electoral Commission publicly announce results for both parliamentary and Presidential polls for that constituency,” Dimba said.
The Bill introduces a new section, Sec 93 (2) which states that “all recordings in relation to the number of votes, voters and ballot papers shall be recorded in both Arabic numerals and words” to deter alteration of results at the district tally centre where results from constituencies are tallied.
Section 93B will seek to clarify the process of compiling of the constituency results of elections starting with the returning officer at the constituency tally centre who would record the number of votes, number of voters and ballot papers cast and any discrepancies between these as well as any complaints received at constituency level.
Section 93b (3) states: “Representatives of each political party with a candidate or an independent candidate shall be entitled to observe the entire procedure followed at the constituency tally centre in computing the constituency results.”
The Bill also seeks to amend Section 25 of the PPEA by increasing penalties for those convicted of voter buying from seven years imprisonment to 21 years and the fine from K500 000 to K10 million.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :