Election observer groups from Common Market for Eastern and Southern African (COMESA) and SADC have called for changes in the appointment of Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) commissioners.
Currently, MEC commissioners are appointed by the president in consultation with leaders of political parties represented in the National Assembly. The parties submit names from which the president selects his choices.
Comesa Committee of Elders (CCOE) member Hope Kiverengere who is leading the group’s observer mission to Malawi said there should be a new way of appointing commissioners which should lead to inclusivity, transparency and good governance.
She was speaking at a press briefing which the Comesa and SADC observer missions conducted at Bingu International Conference Centre in Lilongwe on Thursday.
On the election, Kivengere noted that Malawians came out in large numbers to vote.
She said that the mission observed that the voting centres opened on time, there was tight security, people with disabilities, the elderly and expectant mothers were assisted in time and that monitors for candidates were present.
She then explained that despite the efforts made by the commission to reach out to the voters through civic and voter education, the mission noted that more need to be done to enhance awareness on the critical aspects of the electoral process
Kivengere also observed that it was a good initiative to allow prisoners exercise their right to choose leaders despite their status and asked other countries to take note of the initiative.
She however asked government to allow Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) to work independently without taking sides when reporting and broadcasting their programs.
“While all political have the right to
have their campaign messages reported on all media, there is an extra legal obligation on the Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) as a state funded media outlet, to maintain neutrality and ensure equal news coverage of all political parties in this respect,” she explained.