Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) Commissioner Nancy Tembo has advised monitors of political parties and independent candidates to jack-up when monitoring the next week’s by-elections’ polling and result counting to avoid misleading their masters.
Tembo who is also chairperson of the Media, Civic and Voter Education Committee said in an interview on the sideline of meetings with chiefs and stakeholders that took place in Kasungu Lifupa ward at the Headquarters of TA Lukwa and ST/A Mawawa on Monday and T/A Kaphaizi and T/A Mwase on Tuesday respectively.
She stressed the need for all contesting political parties and candidates to place monitors with numeracy and literacy skills for them to monitor the polling process objectively.
She said it is so sad and unfortunate for a party or candidate to claim that elections were rigged when their monitors were present and involved at every stage of polling.
“During the tripartite elections we had some challenges with some Presiding Officers as they could not competently fill the result sheet besides political Monitors who did not know their work despite being trained,” said Tembo.
To avoid similar challenges she said MEC recruited presiding officers based on merit and experience on polling procedures other than automatic use of head teachers of centers as was the case previously.
The commissioner said all the polling staff will undergo an intensive training prior to by-elections and has asked all interested party monitors to attend in order for them to gain knowledge that will help them monitor objectively.
By-elections for Member of Parliament will take place in two constituencies of Thyolo East and Blantyre North and Five local government elections in Machinga Likwenu, Lisanjala Ward, Kandeu Ward in Ntcheu North East, Lifupa Ward in Kasungu West, Mbalachanda Ward in Mzimba Central and Zgeba Ward in Karonga Nyungwe.