MEC backs parallel tally centres

 

Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) has backed the setting up of parallel vote tallying (PVT) centres by political parties contesting in the May 21 2019 Tripartite Elections, saying the move will enhance transparency and credibility of election results.

MEC chairperson Jane Ansah said this in reaction to developments that some of the contesting parties are mounting their PVTs to ascertain results.

She said: “In one of my speeches, I earlier mentioned that political parties can tally results on their own. That will help them know the results before we do.

A woman votes in a past election

“Immediately after polling, boxes will be opened in the presence of party monitors who will have their result sheets signed by all monitors representing their political parties.”

Besides the political parties, Malawi Electoral Support Network (Mesn), a network of civil society organisations (CSOs), will also undertake parallel vote tabulation (PVT) to be operated by trained and accredited observers.

Yesterday, Malawi Congress Party (MCP) secretary general Eisenhower Mkaka and UTM Party director of communications Joseph Chidanti Malunga confirmed that their parties will mount PVTs.

But governing Democratic Progressive Party publicity secretary Nicholas Dausi could neither confirm nor deny that his party will also have the tally centre.

Sounding upbeat on transparency and accountability during this year’s polls, Mkaka played down fears that results punched in their system will conflict with those that will be tabulated at MEC’s national tally centre.

He said: “We are working towards having our own tally centre because MEC has allowed political parties to have their own tally centres. We will be operating within the provisional guidelines of MEC.”

During the May 20 2014 Tripartite Elections, MEC officials spoke against setting up of PVTs, arguing they had the potential to create confusion in the result management process.

But Ansah says there is nothing wrong if political parties will choose to have their own PVTs.

On the other hand, Mesn chairperson Steven Duwa yesterday cautioned political parties to engage a high level of expertise in technology to ensure that data is tabulated in a professional manner for easy comparison with other stakeholders.

Duwa said PVT observation methodology provides the most accurate and timely information on the conduct of voting and counting.

Counting of ballot papers will start immediately after polling closes on Tuesday. Results would be transmitted from polling centres to constituency tally centres enroute to the national tall centre in Blantyre.

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