As preparations for the 2014 Tripartite Elections intensify, the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) says it is committed to building the capacity of its stakeholders to ensure that they play their rightful role.
MEC chairperson, Justice Maxon Mbendera said this on Wednesday, June 26, 2013 in Lilongwe when he jointly opened a two-day conflict management workshop and daylong trainers of trainers’ training for political parties.
Mbendera said in fulfilling this the Commission would be conducting several trainings for its stakeholders to equip them with skills and knowledge that will contribute to having a credible election in 2014.
On conflict management, the MEC chair said that just like any other competition, conflict was inevitable and conflict is healthy for democracy.
“I am referring here to positive conflict where there is competition on policies and manifestoes as they are being sold to the electorate. Sometimes, negative conflict creeps in which, if not properly managed, could degenerate into violence.
“The Commission therefore has arranged this course specifically to deal with this negative conflict so that violence does not have a place in our democracy,” he said.
Mbendera said the Commission does not want elections to be marred with violence because people would be filled with fear and would not turn out.
“If the electorate do not go out to vote, who then shall vote for us into positions of authority? Shall we call the elections free where a handful of voters have turned out? Definitely no,” he said.
Mbendera said Malawi democracy was growing tremendously by moving away from personality politics to issue-based politics although there were still other quarters that were yet to adapt the stage at which our democracy has reached.
“I am hopeful that before the end of this calendar year all political parties shall have embraced civilized and mature politics. And by the time the Commission receives nominations and launches campaign, there will be a conducive environment for elections.
“This is the time when the voters will go and listen to manifestoes of various political parties and candidates. People should not be living in fear. As leaders, we should be the first to assure people of their safety so that they participate meaningfully in elections and development of this country,” he said.
The training drew secretaries general and publicity secretaries from the existing 20 political parties in Malawi.
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