News that the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) does not have sufficient equipment to go flat out during the registration period ahead of next year’s maiden tripartite elections has laid-back the seemly excitement the nation has been engulfed in, Newstime Africa can report.
But MEC Chairman Justice Maxon Mbendera assures the nation that the Commission is geared to manage an election in an independent and transparent manner, with Commissioners adhering to the governing rules and regulations.
As a professional, he has however not concealed that there are some logistical challenges for people to appreciate why the registration exercise will not be conducted countrywide during the same timeline, hinting; “I need to emphasize one point on registration of voters. The Commission does not have registration equipment to cover the entire country at once.”
In the foregoing, the Commission will conduct voter registration exercise in phases, spread between July this year to January next year, covering even the four public holidays of Christmas and Christmas box (this year) and New Year’s Day and Chilembwe day next year.
“The registration process will be done in 10 phases across the country. We will start on 22 July 2013 and end on 4 January 2014. Each phase will run for a period of 14 days irrespective of holidays with a 3 day transition period between the phases,” confirms Justice Mbendera.
Assuring the nation of its independence, the MEC Chairman says; “The Commission shall carry out its mandate with independence and impartiality. The Commission will operate freely in its own best judgment without taking directives from or being controlled by any person or authority.
He adds: “At all times, MEC shall ensure that all electoral activities are open to public, judicial and governmental scrutiny and the Commission is committed to create and foster an environment conducive for holding of free, fair and credible elections.”
Justice Mbendera further explains that MEC will take all reasonable measures to prevent wilful wrong doing by Commissioners and staff and those electoral programmes shall be implemented in an honest, transparent and truthful manner.
“We shall endeavor to ensure total compliance with all electoral laws and other relevant laws of the country. It is our expectation that stakeholders will also comply with various codes of conduct and electoral laws,” the Chair says.
The Malawi Electoral Commission has since launched its 2013-2017 Strategic Plan, 2014 Tripartite Civic and Voter Education Strategy and first ever Tripartite Elections.
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