Media advised to actively be involved in electoral matters

The Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) has urged journalists in the country to actively be involved in electoral matters as it has the capacity to reach every citizen.

MEC Commissioner, Nancy Tembo, made the plea when she visited Nkhotakota based journalists recently to remind them on the media role as May 20 polls draw closer.

The country is conducting its first ever tripartite elections on May 20 this year where Malawians will elect the president, parliamentarian and councillor at once.

Speaking at Nkhotakota Community Radio Station, Tembo said journalists have a responsibility to encourage voters to go and verify their names and other information on the voter’s roll in their respective centres.

Nancy Tembo inside the Nkhotakota Community Radio Station studio- Pic courtesy of Tule Kamfoso
Nancy Tembo inside the Nkhotakota Community Radio Station studio- Pic courtesy of Tule Kamfoso

The names’ inspection exercise will be done in two phases from March 24 to 28 and from April 1 to 5, 2014, respectively.

Where the information differs, the electorate will be allowed to present correct information for the commission to make necessary changes and those who lost their certificates will be able to get duplicates.

Tembo said the media should actively be involved in all electoral matters as MEC has the trust that it can reach many people with information.

“I urged you journalists to also emphasize to electorates that it is against MEC’s laws to sell voter’s registrations certificate. And let me warn that any person who will be found doing that the law will take its course accordingly,” explained Tembo.

On political parties’ violence, the Commissioner said party leaders should avoid provocative speeches so that their followers do not engage in violence during and after campaign if free and fair election is to be achieved.

Asked the way forward on the disqualified aspiring MPs in the district, Tembo indicated the candidates still stand a chance to contest if the courts find them not guilty.

“A free and fair election is in your hands. Be accountable when reporting about electoral matters. Don’t be biased but stick to the media ethics and code of conduct,” concluded Tembo.

MEC has assured the nation and all stakeholders that it will manage the tripartite elections, though maiden, in a fair, free and credible manner.

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