Mbendera says MESN tally centre saved Malawi electoral body

Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) has said elections results from Malawi Electoral Support Network (MESN) Parallel Vote Tabulation (PVT) data centre gave relief to the commission amid the electoral chaos experienced in the May 20 tripartite elections.

MEC chairperson Justice Maxon Mbendera has since called for the institutionalization of the PVT initiative. He said it was better that MESN conducted PVT which validated MEC’s official results.

Mbendera said if there were no PVT results, MEC would have been in greater danger.

Mbendera: Backs MESN
Mbendera: Backs MESN

“We have met with MESN often and have appreciated their commentary as a valuable and impartial voice. They were also architects and authors of the Parallel Vote Tabulation exercise that independently affirmed the outcome of the election, which, as a practice, I believe should be instituted for future elections,” said Mbendera at a two –day post election review conference running from June 26 to June 27 in Lilongwe.

Mbendera confessed that the just ended tripartite elections had shortfalls despite operating within the rule of law.

Said Mbendera: “But the circumstances of these elections draw into question whether that framework best supports free and fair elections…But these elections speak to a need for greater scrutiny of the “rules of the game” that underpin our democracy, and go beyond the election commission itself.”

Mbendera asked stakeholders involved in making election legal reforms to treat such with seriousness and urgency.

“Even before the nuances of election legal reforms are highlighted, we must also examine the process by which reforms are brought before the legislature. If they are treated as regular legal amendments and are vetted by cabinet prior to their submission to the National Assembly-they may not be subjected to the full scope of political discussion and consensus necessary to support election reform.

“The possibility that election reform amendments be treated uniquely, submitted directly to the National Assembly, may be a necessary consideration,” said Mbendera.

Mbendera described this year’s elections as exceptional because it was the first election that followed a transition of power away from the ballot box, and it was the first election in which the incumbent President was voted out of power.

On its part, MESN chairperson Steven Duwa said MESN would continue implementing PVT for future elections without fear or favour.

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