Alliance for Democracy (Aford) has faulted Malawi Electoral Support Network (Mesn) on its electoral reforms regional dialogue meetings, saying they do not offer participants an opportunity to provide independent observations on elections.
Mesn is conducting regional meetings to solicit citizens’ views on electoral issues using the report which was published after the national post-election review conference held in June as the basis for discussion.
Speaking in Mzuzu on Thursday at a Mesn meeting, Aford deputy secretary general McHellings Kayala noted that the network is making presentations of recommendations which were made at a meeting held “elsewhere”.
“Participants may end up ratifying recommendations which were made during previous meetings which they did not attend. Mesn should have started it on an open arena where people could have contributed their experiences as there were a lot of variations in terms of electoral environment,” he said.
Kayala also demanded that Mesn should declare their source of funding after monitoring the elections in all districts ‘efficiently and effectively’ when Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) faced financial challenges in mobility and staff.
However, Mesn board chairperson Steve Duwa said the regional meetings are not aimed at “putting forward the organisation’s views”.
He said Mesn is engaging various stakeholders in the regions to deliberate and critique the recommendations made at the post-national elections conference so as to propose their views to be considered at the national electoral reform conference to be held this month.
“These recommendations are not new because they are similar to what was raised in 2007 during the constitutional review. Government needs to implement them so that challenges experienced this year are not repeated,” he said.
On source of funding, Duwa said Mesn had its own funds from Ukaid through the National Democratic Institute (NDI) for monitoring the elections.