The National Initiative for Civic Education (NICE) Trust, Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) and the Public Affairs Committee (PAC) have agreed to undertake a joint voter education and election observation for the fresh presidential election.
The forthcoming poll follows the nullification of the May 2019 presidential election by the Constitutional Court (ConCourt) and later upheld by the Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal (MSCA).
NICE Trust, CCJP and PAC have, under the MoU, expressed commitment to tracking electoral related incidents, including political violence for appropriate and timely interventions and remedies.
NICE executive director Ollen Mwalubunju, CCJP national coordinator Boniface Chibwana and the PAC executive director Robert Phiri say in their joint statement issued after the MoU signing ceremony at the Capital Hotel in Lilongwe on Thursday that the agreement to work together comes against a background of the need for Malawians to be adequately informed on the forthcoming fresh presidential elections.
The observed that there is need that all electoral stakeholders and service providers should put up a rigorous and comprehensive civic and voter education and mobilisation campaign.
“Such voter engagement is crucial now that Malawi is holding the fresh polls for the first time and that there have been new dynamics and changes on the country’s political and electoral landscape,” a statement issued at the end of the MoU signing ceremony says.
The three bodies shall therefore work together to fulfill their common goal and mutual responsibilities under MoU, while affirming and preserving their different identities.
“This MOU does not preclude each partner from working independently with other organisations engaged in civic and voter education, election observation, peace building and promoting political tolerance as well as championing disability inclusion in the electoral process to meaningfully realise the genuine inclusion and participation of persons with disabilities in the fresh presidential elections,” the statement added.
NICE Trust, CCJP and PAC have undertaken to document and publish assessment of stages of the electoral processes following the electoral calendar issued by the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC).
They will also facilitate dialogue and where necessary undertake transformative conflict resolution processes.
“We have agreed to establish and engage all electoral stakeholders on issues of concern in order to contribute towards a credible electoral process; to conduct joint civic and voter education activities; to conduct joint long-term and short-term election observation for the fresh presidential election; to train and deploy long-term and short-term observers for the upcoming fresh presidential election and to jointly manage the Election Situation Room,” adds the statement.
It further states that the three institutions will jointly conduct dialogue, social cohesion and peace building activities; undertake initiatives that minimise electoral related violence and ensure accountability to combat impunity in dealing with political violence and undertake stakeholders dialogue sessions through engagement with MEC, Malawi Police Service, Malawi Human Rights Commission, CSOs, among others.
“We further commit ourselves to conduct joint press briefings, media statements and engagements and jointly map up resources, identify resource gaps and undertake resource mobilisation initiatives for the realisation of the objectives of this MOU,” they say.
This notwithstanding, NICE Trust, CCJP and PAC stress that while the consortium members will undertake individual responsibilities under the MOU, there are specific mutual responsibilities to be carried out by all partners to enhance coordination.
The mutual responsibilities include resource mobilisation and consolidation of resources into a basket fund; stakeholders engagement on electoral interventions; media relations on the fresh polls; messaging on Covid-19; press briefings and statements; election observation; civic and voter education and mobilisation; field monitoring and sharing of reports; engagement on emerging issues that may potentially affect the electoral process such as Covid-19 and blood sucking rumours, fears and myths and joint proposal development.
“The salient feature in the determination of the credibility of an election is independent observation and monitoring. The three organizations have been independently and individually carrying out electoral observation and voter education activities in the previous elections including the May 2019 polls.
“It is envisioned that the concerted efforts and planned interventions under the consortium will go a long way in enhancing the integrity and legitimacy of the electoral processes during the forthcoming fresh presidential elections. Together we can realise a free, fair, peaceful, inclusive and credible fresh presidential election in Malawi. It begins with all of us!” concludes the joint statement.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :