By Jordan Simeon-Phiri*
Justice and Peace Desk of Karonga Diocese has told the Multiparty Liaison Committee (MPLC) that despite conducting free, fair, transparent and violence free May 21, 2019 Tripartite Elections, tabulation and reconciliation of votes was a challenge by constituency returning officers (CROs), hence the use of correction fluid-Tippex that compromised results.
Justice and Peace Project Officer Moses Mwakisalu said this during the MPLC meeting held at the District Commissioner’s (DC) Chamber on Friday aimed at reviewing the whole electoral calendar before, during and after elections and map the way forward for the 2024 Elections.
“On the polling day, we moved around monitoring the voting, counting and tabulation exercise and we noted that there were challenges such as filling of 66 a, b and c forms and balancing of figures of votes and registered voters that probably came about due to lack of adequate training for Presiding Officers (POs) and CROs.
“This contributed to the complexity of the whole process of results management, counting, tabulation, reconciliation and transmission of results. As the result, balancing of those who registered and voted could not tally,” said Mwakisalu.
In his recommendation, Mwakisalu asked the country’s Pollster Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) to organize comprehensive training for POs and CROs or hire permanent members of staff to manage elections if a repeat of the May 2019 irregularities is to be avoided.
The Justice and Peace Desk of the Diocese deployed observers in all the twelve constituencies of the Diocese and thus entire districts of Karonga and Chitipa and the northern part of Rumphi.
Taking his turn, 50:50 Campaign Coordinator at Foundation for Community Support Services (FOCUS) Robert Silungwe whose organization canvassed for equal representation for the Parliamentary and Local Government Elections in the district asked all stakeholders not to relent if the campaign is to achieve the feat in 2024 Elections.
“This year, out of the 18 female Ward Councillors from the 10 wards, only one made it while the five female parliamentary candidates failed miserably despite the unwavering support and efforts from electoral stakeholders and partners.
“I, therefore, request all of you in this house to start the campaign and encourage the losing female candidates not to give up in readiness for the 2024 election,” Silungwe said.
District Commissioner for Karonga who was the District Elections Coordinator, Emmanuel Bulukutu, hailed the electoral stakeholders for the role played during the whole period that resulted in the district conducting peaceful and violence free tripartite elections.
The MPLC meeting was jointly funded by Justice and Peace of Karonga Diocese and Youth and Society.
*The author is MEC Stringer – 0888872348 / 0999872348