JP punches holes in election results management system

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Justice and Peace (JP) of Karonga Diocese says tabulation and reconciliation of votes was a challenge for constituency returning officers (CROs) during the May 21 elections hence the use of correction fluid – Tippex that compromised results.

JP project officer Moses Mwakisalu said this during a Multiparty Liaison Committee (MPLC) meeting held at the District Commissioner’s (DCs) Chamber Friday aimed at reviewing the whole electoral calendar before, during and after elections and map the way forward for the 2024 general elections.

MPLC members following proceedings-Picture by Jordan Simeon-Phiri

“On the polling day, we moved around monitoring the voting, counting and tabulation exercise and we noted that there were challenges such as filling of 66a, b and c forms and balancing of figures of voters and registered voters that probably came about due to lack of adequate training for returning officers (ROs) and CROs.

“This contributed to the complexity of the whole process of results management, counting, tabulation, reconciliation and sending of results. As the result, balancing of those who registered and voted could not tally,” Mwakisalu said.

In his recommendation, Mwakisalu asked the country’s the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) to organize comprehensive training for POs and CROs or hire permanent members of staff to manage elections if a repeat of the May 2019 irregularities is to be avoided.

Taking his part, 50:50 campaign coordinator at foundation for community support services (FOCUS) Robert Silungwe whose organization canvassed for equal representation for the Parliamentary and Local Government elections in the district asked all stakeholders not to relent if the campaign is to achieve the feat in 2024 general elections.

“This year, out of the 18 female Ward Councillors from the 10 wards, only one made it while the five female Parliamentary candidates failed miserably despite the unwavering support and efforts from electoral stakeholders and partners.

“I, therefore, request all of you in this house to start the campaign and encourage the losing female candidates not to give up in readiness for the 2024 election,” Silungwe said.

District Commissioner for Karonga who was the district’s elections coordinator Emmanuel Bulukutu hailed the electoral stakeholders for the role played during the whole period that resulted in the district conducting peaceful and violence free tripartite elections.

The MPLC meeting was jointly funded by JP of Karonga diocese and Youth and Society.

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