Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) chairperson Jane Ansah has said they have found a printer of ballot papers to be used in the May 21 2019 Tripartite Elections and that stakeholders will be given the details.
There has been a trend of printing ballot papers outside the continent at huge costs.
Critics argue that the large sums of money used in the printing of the ballot papers does not translate to free, fair and credible elections. There are always complains that elections are rigged and after four or five years, a repeat process takes place with more money spent on sustaining a democracy that doesn’t reflect in the lives of the citizens.
“The Commission has identified a printer for the ballot papers. All stakeholders will be informed in the details of this printer and the period for the ballot paper printing exercise so that you should start making arrangements to go and monitor the exercise. I have to make it clear here that this will be done at your own cost,” Ansah said on Tuesday during the launch of the official campaign.
Critics say the need to involve local printers in the process of printing ballot papers is not necessarily a panacea to solving electoral problems.
They argue that in a continent where the current mantra is “African problems, African solutions,” the continuous printing of ballot papers outside the continent not only supports the economy of countries abroad, but it mocks Africans.
Nyasa Times understands that one governing party official was engaging a Dubai-based firm [name withheld] to print the presidential ballot papers.
Meanwhile, Ansah said the electoral body is thankful to the Malawi Government for its fulfilling its obligation in disbursing the funds as approved in the elections budget.
She said the Commission is also grateful to all development partners for supporting the electoral process through the basket funding.
Ansah also thanked all the stakeholders for playing their respective roles during this electoral process.
“We are now moving into the most critical stage of the process so, I would urge you to scale up your efforts. The success of these elections depends on all of us,” she said.
Ansah, a judge of the Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal and a former Attorney General, assured MEC would deliver a free, fair and credible elections.