Tonse worried over barring of roving monitors on polling day

Tonse Alliance has expressed worry over Malawi Electoral Commission’s decision to bar roving monitors during the court sanctioned fresh Presidential Polls slated for Tuesday, June 23.

Parties in the two separate electoral alliances expressed their views on Thursday during a Multiparty Liaison Committee (MPLC) meeting that Karonga District Peace Committee (DPC) aimed at brainstorming the ongoing implementation exercise of the electoral calendar ahead of the polls.

Speaking in an interview on behalf of Tonse Alliance, Malawi Congress Party (MCP) district chairman Emmanuel Nkhoma said it is surprising that MEC has decided to put restrictive measures and bar roving monitors whom he said are key in safeguarding votes, results and providing vital information to party leaders.

Wondered Nkhoma: Since 1994 general elections up to the botched May 19, 2019 Tripartite Elections, we have been having roving monitors on top of mere party monitors. We are, therefore, surprised that this time around we have been told that there will be no roving monitors. Why is that so? We suspect a foul play.

In a separate interview, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) district governor Youngson Mwakalenga said the DPP/United Democratic Front (UDF) alliance has no problem with the arrangement, saying as an alliance their monitors are ready to vigilantly observe the process.

However, MEC chairperson Justice Dr. Chifundo Kachale on the same Thursday told National Elections Consultative Forum (NECOF) members in Lilongwe that MECs decision to abolish the presence of roving monitors at polling centres is part of security measures.

As security precaution measure, MEC has put in place security measures to protect everyone who comes to vote and also who works on the polling day. One such measure was to abolish Roving Party Representatives.

This time around, all monitors will be at polling station level and no one will be allowed to be roving, Kachale said.