Malawi Electoral Support Network (MESN) will on the polling day on Tuesday, May 21, deploy 907 observers to conduct a parallel vote tabulation (PVT) at all polling stations and polling streams located in every region, district and constituency of the country.
At a press briefing held on Saturday at Mount Soche Hotel in Blantyre where MESN has created its National Data Centre, MESN chairperson Steven Duwa said they will deploy over 1,400 observers, 907 PVTs and 61 district supervisors who will be mobile observers.
“MESN’s leadership will also fan out across the country to observe voting and counting,” Duwa said. “All of MESN’s observers have been carefully selected from member organizations, thoroughly trained and their details submitted to Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) for accreditation.
“All have been furnished with a copy of MESN’s Code of Conduct and all have signed MESN’s neutrality observer pledge to ensure honest and accurate reports. MESN has made every effort to promote the participation of women and youth in its observation efforts — 45 percent of MESN’s PVT officers are women and 71 percent are youths of 18 to 35 year’s old.
“Throughout the day, they will send eight observation reports from a detailed checklist via coded text messages using their own mobile phones to the MESN National Data Centre at Mount Soche Hotel. This will provide MESN with near real time information on the conduct of the election.”
He said the PVT is the most sophisticated citizen observation methodology as it employs statistics and information and communication technologies (ICT) to provide the most accurate and timely information on the conduct of voting and counting and to help ensure that the official presidential results as announced by MEC accurately reflect ballots cast by voters.
“Citizen observers have used PVTs to promote credible elections around the world and across Africa, that include Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Malawi. PVT is not new in Malawi as it has been conducted for presidential elections in 1999, 2009 and 2014.
“PVT provides the most accurate and timely information on the conduct of voting and counting because reports are collected from a scientific sample of polling stations and polling streams and reports are transmitted in near real time via coded SMSs using mobile phones.
“Because MESN’s PVT observer reports come from a scientific sample of polling stations and streams, the findings are true for all stations and streams (even those without a MESN PVT observer).
“We also wish to underline the fact that PVT is the only methodology that can independently verify the accuracy of the official presidential results as announced by MEC. MESN will only be verifying the accuracy of the results of the presidential election and not the official results for other elections.
“While MESN will independently verify the accuracy of the official presidential election results as announced by MEC, MESN does not announce official results or declare the winner of the election. MEC is constitutionally mandated to announce the official results.
“PVTs serve as an important deterrent to prevent results from possibly being manipulated either at polling stations and polling streams or at any point during collation process. All Malawians should have greater confidence that the official presidential results as announced by MEC will truly reflect the ballots cast at polling stations and polling streams because of MESN’s PVT.
“MESN is conducting a PVT on behalf of all Malawians and not for the benefit of any political party candidate. MESN encourages all Malawians who are glistened to vote to out and exercise their constitutional right,” Duwa said.
MESN is a registered network of 27 non-governmental and faith-based organizations in Malawi that was formed with the core objective of facilitating coordination among civil society organizations engaging in election monitoring, civic and voter education in Malawi and a platform for dialogue, advocacy and lobbying on electoral matters.
Since its establishment in 2003, MESN has successfully observed the 2004 and 2009 parliamentary and presidential elections as well as 2014 tripartite elections.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :