Malawi Electoral Support Network (Mesn) has established an elections information centre through which the public will be sharing information relating to the May 20th tripartite elections.
The first ever centre named Malawi Elections Information Centre (Meic) will run an Election Situation Room (ESR) which comprises a team of experts to analyse information the general public and recruited observers will be sharing on elections issues happening across the country.
Mesn Board Member, Louis Msiyadungo said in an interview through Meic set-up base stationed at Ryalls Hotel, citizen journalists would be allowed to send free SMSs under Ushahidi citizen reporting system.
“All Malawians of good will can send messages related to elections issues happening in their areas. Information sent will be assessed and verified and shared to relevant authorities for immediate redress of situations happening within that particular process,” said Msiyadungo.
The four-month project is expected to have a team of 25 experts to handle the ESR through which people and recruited observers will be updating the nation prior and during the voting day of elections related issues like opening of voting centres, the voters’ turn out and unofficial voting results.
“Team of experts is there to analyse information shared. Currently we have deployed more than 1,500 observers across the country but more are yet to be recruited. We want every ward to have an observer to monitor the election process and verify facts sent by citizen journalists,” he added.
Msiyadungo believed sharing of information during the elections process would help the country avoid violence, and disclosed they have entered into agreement with mobile phone service providers to ensure network capacity is enhanced and ensure smooth during the process.
The project is being bankrolled by Open Society Initiative of Southern Africa (OSISA) as major donor and Hivos with Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec), Malawi Law Society, Misa Malawi Chapter, Nice and Malawi Human Right Commission as part of taskforce team.
Meic is expected, according to Project Coordinator Joseph Maere, to give the general public opportunity to verify voter IDs, voting stations and other related issues before and on voting day.