Malawi elections were peaceful –SADC Observations

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Sharon Kavhu

Windhoek - Observations by the Southern African Development Community (SADC) on Malawi’s elections concludes that the country successfully held peaceful elections.

Information from the statement issued by the SADC Electoral Observation Mission (SEOM) on Thursday, shows that although the elections were generally peaceful countrywide, there were four districts which had political violence.

“The political and security environment before, during, and immediately after polling day was generally peaceful. The Mission leadership and its observers attended several campaign rallies throughout the country, and noted that these were well organised and attended.  However, the Mission also noted some isolated incidents of political violence in some districts, such as Chikwawa, Karonga, Mangochi and Nsanje,” highlighted part of the statement.

The statement also underlined that the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) efficiently managed the elections with a few challenges.

“MEC managed the implementation of transparent test runs for the technology relating to the transmission of election results, which aimed at detecting the system’s weaknesses or bottlenecks; and the provision of satellite polling stations in response to the infrastructure damages caused by the devastating Cyclone Idai as well as targeted civic education in these areas, to enable the affected communities to cast their votes,” said part of the report.

According to the report, MEC implemented the collaboration with the media to produce a voluntary Media Code of Conduct for the purposes of ethical election-related reporting. The organisation also ensured a proactive response to complaints relating to perceived undue influence by political candidates, such as the replacement of the constituency returning officers and presiding officers for Lilongwe Mpenu and Ntchisi North East Constituencies.

“MEC also managed to ensure inclusive and regular stakeholder consultations and provision of timely and accessible public information regarding all critical phases of the election process. This included granting access to all political parties and candidates to witness the printing, delivery, distribution and securing of ballot papers,” highlights the report.

The report shows that all local and international stakeholders that the Mission interacted with commended the MEC for their proactive, professional and impartial management of the election process.

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