The SADC Electoral Observation Mission (SEOM) to the 2019 Presidential, Parliamentary and Local Government (Tripartite) Elections in Malawi, on 23rdMay, 2019 presented its Preliminary Statement, outlining the key observations on the Tripartite Elections.
Presenting the Preliminary Statement alongside COMESA Electoral Observation Mission, the Alternate Head of SEOM, Hon. Dr Kalombo Mwansa, accompanied by the SADC Executive Secretary, Her Excellency Dr Stergomena Lawrence Tax noted the peaceful political and security environment that existed before, during and immediately after polling day.
Hon. Dr Mwansa hailed the professional manner in which the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) conducted itself during the electoral process. On this note, Hon Dr Mwansa commended MEC for its inclusive and regular stakeholder consultations and provision of timely and accessible public information regarding all critical phases of the electoral process.
In the Preliminary Statement, the SADC Electoral Observation Mission made several recommendations to improve the conduct of future elections in Malawi. Some of the recommendations include the need for MEC, Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA) and relevant stakeholders to review the enforcement mechanisms for the law relating to the coverage of political parties and candidates by the public broadcaster, the Malawi Broadcasting Corporation, to ensure effective implementation of the neutrality and equal coverage provisions.
The Mission noted with concern, the existence of ritual murders of citizens living with albinism and urged the Government of Malawi to finalise and implement the on-going initiatives to address ritual murders of albino citizens, including increasing their security, to enable them to freely exercise their political and socio-economic rights.
The Mission also called for improved social, cultural and political environment to enhance the participation and inclusion of female candidates in the political process, and to increase the representation of women in elected offices in line with the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development.
The release of the SADC Preliminary Statement was jointly held with Common Market for East and Southern Africa (COMESA) Electoral Observer Mission, headed by Madame Hope Kivengere. The event was attended by officials from the Government of Malawi, Ambassadors and Heads of Diplomatic Corps, representatives of United Nations agencies, SADC Ambassadors accredited to Malawi, members of the SADC Organ Troika (Angola, Zambia and Zimbabwe), members of SADC Electoral Advisory Council (SEAC), representatives of political parties, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), religious organisations and the media.
During the elections, SEOM deployed its observers in all the three regions and in 27 of the 28 districts of the country. SEOM will issue its Final Report within thirty (30) days of the conclusion of the electoral cycle in accordance with the revised SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections (2015).
Source: Southern African Development Community (SADC)