"We can confirm that one of our observer teams was the victim of a robbery at their accommodation, and some money and personal items were stolen. It happened in the early hours of 12 May in Chikwawa,” said Michela Sechi, Press Officer for the EU Election Observation Mission to the May 21 poll.
Sechi also added that one of the team members "sustained some injuries which have now been treated and he has been discharged from hospital."
She said the incident was now being handled by the Malawi Police Service, “which has provided great support to the mission, and we are liaising closely with them.”
The EU publicist said: “Our observation of the elections continues in the same way. We are here in the country to support Malawi at this important time.
“The well-being of our observers is of course a major priority, so we will continue to liaise with the police in the areas where our observers are based to ensure their well-being.”
She said the EU observers have been warmly welcomed by stakeholders and the public across Malawi and there have been no other such incidents during our deployment here.
The European Union was invited to deploy an election observation mission by the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.
This is the fourth time the EU has deployed an election observation mission to Malawi.
“Our presence for the 2019 polls demonstrates the European Union’s continuing commitment to the conduct of peaceful, inclusive, transparent and credible elections in Malawi,” Miroslay Poche, chief observer of the EU Election Observation Mission told journalists recently.
The EU mission, composed of eight analysts who arrived in Blantyre on 4 April 2019, twenty-eight long-term observers and 32 short-term observers, will be joined by diplomats of EU member states and partner countries.
On May 21, the EU will have more than 80 observers across the country, covering both urban and rural areas.
Poche said Malawi’s sixth multiparty poll was “an opportunity to conduct polls which enjoy the confidence of the people, building on what has been done previously and learning also from past challenges.”
This is the fourth time the EU has deployed an election observation mission to Malawi. “Our presence for the 2019 polls demonstrates the European Union’s continuing commitment to the conduct of peaceful, inclusive, transparent and credible elections in Malawi,” said Mr Poche.
The EU observer mission conducts a comprehensive analysis of the whole electoral process. This includes assessing the legal framework, the performance of the election administration, voter registration, campaign activities, participation of women, media coverage, voting, counting and transmission of results, and any election disputes after the vote.
The Commonwealth, the African Union (AU) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) have observer delegations already operating in the country.