International observer missions have described Tuesday’s tripartite elections as well-managed, inclusive, transparent and competitive.
In press conferences held separately in Blantyre by the European Union Election Observation Mission (EU-EOM), Commonwealth Observer Mission, Africa Union Election Observation Mission and Electoral Commissions Forum of Sadc countries (ECF-Sadc)commended the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) for a well-organised and managed voting process.
First to present the preliminary results was the EU-EOM, which observed that despite the positive aspects of the elections, the results process was still to be completed and inclusivity and transparency are vital.
EU-EOM chief observer Miroslav Poche said the mission had reservations on how political parties and the media handled the campaign period, saying it was marked by tensions and an uneven playing field.
He said: “The process was well-managed by MEC, and MEC’s inclusive and transparent approach meant that stakeholders retained a high level of confidence in the election management body. Of particular note was the improved integrity of the voter register, a revised and public election calendar and the creation of constituency tally centres.”
In his statement at Amaryllis Hotel in Blantyre, AU election monitoring mission head, who is former president of Ghana, John Mahama, also commended MEC for orderly elections and said the pre-election period was peaceful with isolated incidents of violence.
He, however, observed that during the registration of votes, there was inadequate information on voting requirements.
Said Mahama: “Citizens were not fully aware that the national [ID] was not necessary to register, which prevented some potential voters from registering.”
On his part, former South African president Thabo Mbeki, who is heading the Commonwealth Observer Mission, made similar observations to those of EU and AU and said MEC should be given time to conclude the process.
He said the pre-election environment was competitive, particularly with the coming in of UTM Party.
“MEC has made considerable effort to implement recommendations that were made in 2014,” he said, adding MEC received high level of confidence among the stakeholders.
ECF-Sadc countries head of mission Kalombo Mwansa, in a preliminary statement delivered soon after Mbeki’s, said the forum has noted MEC’s efforts in preparing and managing the elections.
“The MEC commissioners have discharged their duties according to their mandate and in a credible manner. The mission congratulates the people of the Republic of Malawi on the manner in which they conducted themselves during the electoral period,” she said.
However, all the missions were yet to release full reports detailing observations and recommendations.