Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) chairperson Dr Chifundo Kachale has said the Tuesday fresh presidential elections had “international observers” through foreign missions in the country.
Kachale told journalists reacting to the absence of international observers at the fresh election.
The MEC chairperson said the commission invited international observers and they responded positively including the European Union (EU).
However, he cited travel bans due to the Covid-19 pandemic as one of the factors leading to the absence of international observers in the fresh election.
“The discussion around absence of international observers should also not pay blind eye to the effect of travel bans due to Covid-19. Being international guests, it meant it would have been a requirement for them to be subjected to a two-week quarantine or self-isolation period.
“ The Commission can safely assume that the absence of international observers is attributed to the Covid-19 pandemic,” he said.
Kachale said observers included; European Union, Dan Church Aid, UNDP, Zimbabwe Embassy, Zambia High Commission, Tanzania High Commission, Mozambique High Commission, Embassy of Japan, South Africa High commission, British High Commission, United States Embassy and International Foundation for Electoral System (IFES).
“It should be noted that these international observers are resident in Malawi,” said Kachale.
Since the annulment of the May 21 2019 presidential election, some Malawians have been expressing reservations on value-addition the international observers bring to the elections.
A 2020 Pre-election and Governance Survey conducted by the Zomba-based Institute of Public Opinion and Research (Ipor), found that most Malawians have no trust in international observers compared to local ones.
Governance and political scientist Henry Chingaipe, commenting on the perceptions after Ipor released their findings, observed that the added value of international observers was almost zero.
“They do more tourism than observing the elections,” claimed Chingaipe in quoted reported by the local press.
National Initiative for Civic Education (Nice) executive director Ollen Mwalubunju said it was high time the country started domesticating its elections and own them without international observer.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :