UN Resident Coordinator and Resident Representative Richard Dictus has tipped President Bingu wa Mutharika on the need to immediately put the Electoral Commission in order if the country is to have successful elections in 2014.
“In order for the 2014 elections to run smoothly, the preparation needs to start right now. Already much has been said on the functions and roles of the Electoral Commission, and it is important that the EC possesses the required leadership to organize and administer elections in 2014.
“In this regard, the identification and appointment of new commissioners is a critical first step, in addition, the EC has a number of senior level vacancies, including the chief elections officer, and it is, struggling with the aftermath of the forensic audit undertaken at the end of 2010,” said Dictus in his opinion published in The Nation newspaper.
Dictus said resolving the forensic audit and asset management issues would enhance EC’s credibility among the elections stakeholders.
Said Dictus whose body is the major donor of elections in Malawi, “Ensuring that election will be peaceful will require the reactivation of the multiparty liaison committees that played such an important role in 2004 and 2009 Parliamentary and Presidential Elections.”
He also called for immediate civic education through the nationally established mechanism of the National Initiative for Civic Education to ensure a high turnout on polling day of an informed and empowered electorate including many new voters.
EC chairperson Anastasia Msosa recently told a local newspaper that her body had presented to the president three names of possible candidates for the position of chief elections officer.
She was queried over the reference of the names to the president because the law does not require such.
Malawi is preparing for tripartite elections in 2014. Oppositio parties have also called on Mutharika to appoint new commissioners bu cautioned him to consult him on the candidates.