With just a year to go before Malawi holds its first ever tripartite polls, the Public Affairs Committee (PAC) has doubted the reliability of the elections attributable to the leisurely pace of the preparations by government and the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC).
PAC, an umbrella organisation for the major faith communities represented in the country, says it has noted with concern the slow preparations of the polls, which, if not improved, may compromise the outcome of the exercise.
“For instance, delays in preparation of the elections budget has remained a cause of concern…Holding free and fair elections requires proper preparations by the commission.
“The pace at which Malawi is moving towards the 2014 tripartite elections remains questionable as to whether the process will yield the desired results,” PAC said Monday in a statement signed by Acting Chairperson, Sheikh Imuran Shareef Mahommed and Publicity Secretary, Rev Maurice Munthali made available to Nyasa Times.
Last week, Malawi Government disclosed it had set aside more than K14 billion to finance the forthcoming elections, which will be the fourth since the dawn of multiparty politics in 1994.
But PAC has warned that any delays in the electoral process has big implications on the outcome of elections and urges MEC to speed up the process as the exercise will be a big task in Malawi’s electoral history.
The grouping, founded in 1992 by the religious community and other pressure groups in the country then, also hopes that MEC will strive to ensure free and fair elections by working together with all stakeholders.
“PAC calls upon all stakeholders in the electoral process to work tirelessly so that the tripartite elections are held in a free and fair manner,” it says.
On the political front, PAC has hailed political parties in the country that have begun strengthening their structures through holding conventions to elect their leaders.
“PAC supports such democratic mechanisms and believes that conventions remain lifeblood for strengthening intraparty democracy.
“PAC, therefore, encourages political parties to continue holding conventions in a fair manner in a bid to enhance competition.
“It is the view of PAC that democracy should begin within political parties themselves before it can translate into interparty democracy.
In view of this PAC would like to commend all political parties that have held their conventions and those that plan to hold such meetings,” says the body.
So far, only two of the country’s major parties, the ruling Peoples Party (PP) and the United Democratic Front (UDF), have already conducted their conventions while the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and Malawi Congress Party (MCP) are scheduled to hold theirs this week and next month respectively.