Malawi Electoral Support Network (MESN) has asked the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) to walk the talk on its call to President Joyce Banda to allow opposition parties have equal access to the public Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) when the official campaign for the May 20 elections starts on March 21.
During the filing of nomination papers by presidential candidates at Comesa Hall in Blantyre last week, MEC chairperson Justice Maxon Mbendera urged President Banda to allow the public broadcaster open up
to the opposition so that the playing field is levelled.
In its statement issued on Wednesday, MESN called on MEC not to pay lip service to its call to the President to allow the opposition have equal access to the public broadcaster.
“The MEC chairperson told the president that because of the incumbency she was enjoying more advantages in the electoral process and as such she needed to allow the opposition to equally use the public broadcaster. We commend the MEC Chair for the bold statement he made to the President but we urge him and indeed the entire Commission to walk the talk by ensuring that the playing field is levelled. We ask MEC to see to it that the President does not monopolize the public broadcaster,” reads the statement signed by MESN chairperson Steve Duwa.
Duwa said failure to level the playing field was recipe for violence as some stakeholders would not be ready to accept the elections results.
MESN, however, applauded MEC for the successful filing of nomination papers by presidential, parliamentary and local government polls candidates.
“MESN observed that MEC gave almost equal treatment to all the candidates and this was even echoed by some of the presidential candidates. MEC gave the same content to all the presidential candidates despite the status quo of their political parties. All the presidential candidates, male or female, from big or small parties, were also given equal time allocation for their presentations.
“MESN further commends MEC for the lively and joyful atmosphere it created for the political parties during the presentation of the nomination papers. There was free participation of party followers, the media, civil society organizations and community leaders,” said Duwa in the statement.
MESN got reports on the nomination process from its observers deployed across the country.
At the end of the filing process of papers, there emerged 12 presidential candidates ready to battle it out on May 20