Saturday, 30 August 2014

Commissioner Nancy Tembo address during 2014 elections review in Chikhwawa

Ladies and Gentlemen, Greetings
Commissioner Tembo (5L) with MEC staff and stakeholders
I should thank you very much for attending the meeting today. As always we do not take your presence and participation in electoral events and activities for granted. To us it is a continuous demonstration of your dedication to electoral activities and events. Therefore, receive our sincere appreciation and gratitude for this gesture.

Ladies and Gentlemen, before I go any further in my speech I should thank all of you for the critical roles that you played during the Tripartite Elections, starting from demarcation process up to results announcements. There were challenges but with your dedication and commitment the nation held a credible election. We had a national turnout of 70.1 percent. The percentage of null and void votes also dropped from 2.54 % in 2009 general elections to 1.09 percent. This is against a major concern that tripartite elections would result in more null and void votes as it was a first of its kind.

These achievements did not come on a silver platter but was a culmination of individual and collective efforts to make elections a success and you contributed to that.

We are here to reflect on the May 20 tripartite elections. In the past elections, election review meetings have been conducted at national level. Although such approach is good but it denies an opportunity to get reflections at the local or council level.

As we meet today several organizations including National Initiative for Civic Education (NICE), Institute for Policy Interaction (IPI) and Malawi Electoral Support Network (MESN) have conducted national conferences to review the past elections. The meetings have so far yielded rich information on the conduct of the elections at national level. In consideration of the efforts by these stakeholders, the Commission decided to hold the review meetings at council level. There are many challenges and best practices experienced at council level, which may not be well highlighted at national conferences. Therefore, the meeting today offers an opportunity for us to share our experiences and recommendations that will contribute to the improvement on organisation of elections in this country.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I, therefore urge you to take active participation in this meeting. Mention the areas that went on well and also those that did not go on well. If you don’t mention something that did not go well, just know that you are creating a fertile ground for its repetition in the 2019 elections or any election that might be held in between.

The Commission has adopted an electoral cycle approach to elections. This means that preparations for 2019 elections will start now and not in 2018 with just a year to go. We are also encouraging our stakeholders and structures to embrace the same approach.

The Information that you will give here will help in preparations for the 2019 elections. The Commission is committed to adopting electoral reviews that will help it provide better and efficient elections. Therefore, this is your platform to suggest the reforms or new ways of doing things that will give us better results. We cannot continue to do the same things and expect better results. If we want an improvement in the delivery of elections, we need to change what we are doing.

Ladies and Gentlemen, today the Commission will do much of the listening and we give you the platform to speak.

Before I conclude, I would like to thank the European Union the Democratic Governance Programme (EU DGP) for providing the financial resources that have enabled the Commission to hold the post-elections review meetings in all councils across the country.

The EU DGP has been a very good partner in that is has supported the capacity building of the Commission staff and partners through trainings. The EU DGP also supported the Commission in developing of its current Strategic Plan and the Civic and Voter Education Strategy. 

With these remarks, allow me to wish you a fruitful review meeting.
I now have the honour and privileged to declare this post-election meeting opened.
 God bless you.

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

MEC drills constituency returning officers

Gearing up for nominations: MEC Commissioners Dr Nakanga
(2nd left seated) and Mrs Chingota captured with MEC staff and
Constituency Returning Officers (CROs) from Balaka and Machinga
 soon after opening of orientation workshop on Wednesday. 
As preparations for the May 20 Tripartite Elections intensify, the Malawi Electoral Commission has scheduled nationwide trainings on nomination process for Constituency Returning Officers (CROs).

The CROs will manage the nomination process at the constituency level whereby they will be responsible for receiving nomination papers from parliamentary and local government elections.
For the first time, the Commission has to conduct interviews, whose candidates were Primary Education Advisors, to identify suitably qualified CROs.

Speaking in Balaka when he opened the orientation workshop for CROs from Machinga and Balaka district councils on Wednesday, January 8, 2014 Commissioner Dr Wellington Nakanga urged the participants to be neutral and impartial in their work.

“Whatever you will do as Constituency Returning Officer, will not reflect on you, but it will be the image and integrity of the Commission that will be at stake”.

“If you will conduct yourselves professionally, the public will praise the Commission of being professional. If you discharge your duties in a partisan way, taking political sides, un-leveling the playing field and indulging in all that sort of behavior not condoned by the Commission, it will also be the image and integrity of the Commission that will be at stake. The Commission will not condone this,” he said.

Dr Nakanga emphasized that the Commission was determined to deliver a credible election and would not tolerate anyone to sabotage the process.

“Be informed that the Commission will not hesitate to nip that in the bud any behaviours or acts that would affect its integrity. We are coming from registration exercise which has been successful and we will not accept to fail on nominations,” he warned.

The Commissioner cautioned the CROs that there was no room for experimenting, rehearsing or asking for second chances and they had to just get everything right the first time as they discharge their duties.

The Commissioner said for 2014 elections the aspirants will deposit their nomination fees with any branch of the Malawi Savings Bank and attach the deposit slip to the nomination papers.

The Commission has planned to start issuing nomination papers from January, 2014 and will receive them back from 10 to 14 February 2014.

Similar training took place in Chikhwawa, Mulanje, Lilongwe, Salima, Mzimba and Chitipa and were presided over by MEC Commissioners.