Is the EU EOM satisfied with preparations for the May 21 vote?
We have been following the preparations closely. We were encouraged at some of the operational changes MEC made, which addressed some of the shortcomings from 2014, including a new voter registration, the early publication of the election calendar and creation of constituency tally centres.
MEC has been transparent and inclusive and from the feedback we have, MEC seems to have the confidence of stakeholders. We hope that MEC is able to put into place procedures to enable persons displaced because of the flooding to vote. Now MEC’s ultimate test lies ahead, with the delivery of materials, voting, counting and results transmission and we will follow all of these aspects closely.
Any areas of particular concern?
In terms of the preparations, there are probably two areas of concern, which we continue to follow. Will MEC have adequate transport for the delivery and retrieval of results? We hope so, and will check this as it is critical. Will the vote count be managed effectively and will the results transmission system work? It has been tested but MEC seems to be still fine tuning it, but it is vitally important that this works.
The dry run test has been reported to have some technical hitches. Are these of great concern to stakeholders?
It is of paramount importance that the results transmission system works, delivering the results in a timely manner and maintaining the confidence of stakeholders. It is also important that the process is transparent at all stages, with party monitors and national and international observers present. And MEC needs to carefully manage the period after the elections but before the final results are known, informing the public what is happening and updating them regularly. Also, political parties must remain calm and let the Electoral Commission do their work.
What is your message to Malawians as they wait to vote on May 21?
At the end of the day, elections are for the people of the country to elect their leaders. Participation is important and we hope Malawians turn out in large numbers to cast their votes on May 21st. The peaceful course of elections is equally important before, during and after the elections. There will be winners, there will be losers. MEC has been tasked to ensure credible elections and others need to play their role as well, to ensure a credible and peaceful outcome. We wish the country well.