By Pilirani Kachinziri:
Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Sam Alfandika, has said they are in the process of identifying printers for ballot papers and other polling materials to be used during the May 21 2019 Tripartite Elections.
“When the vendor has been identified, the commission shall issue a public notice in the widely-read newspapers with an intention to award the tender,” Alfandika said while briefing members of Parliamentary Committee on Government Assurances and Public Service Reform on Tuesday in Lilongwe.
He also said, when the printing process of ballot papers commences, the commission shall inform all political parties regarding the location of the printer so that those that would wish to inspect the printing exercise would be free to do so at their own expense.
Alfandika also briefed the committee on the new result management system which Mec is working on to ensure free, fair and credible elections.
“The commission has put in place appropriate measures that shall ensure that all polling materials are delivered on time at all polling stations,” he said.
Alfandika further said, at least a day before polling, all presiding officers at every polling centre shall be expected to verify and confirm with the commission that the centres have received the correct materials and in the correct quantities.
“The presiding officers shall open and inspect all materials in the presence of party monitors. This shall provide ample time for dealing with problems that might be discovered,” he said.
Alfandika also said the commission shall continue to engage certified IT experts to ensure that Mec information technology systems are up to date and not compromised.
“In the same vein, the commission would request all candidates to refrain from fanning vote rigging rumours and allegations unless they are double sure and that they can collaborate with the Mec to bust such claims,” Alfandika said.
As we went to press Wednesday, Mec officials were meeting in Lilongwe to deliberate on the final analysis of nomination papers from presidential candidates which were presented to the commission last week at Comesa Hall in Blantyre.
Mec spokesperson, Sangwani Mwafulirwa, said, after analysing the presidential nomination papers, Mec will scrutinise the parliamentary nomination papers and then the Local Government nomination papers within the prescribed days as required by the law.
The commission is expected to release the official names of presidential candidates within seven days from conclusion of receipt of nomination papers and within 14 days for parliamentary candidates.
For Local Government candidates, the names will be released within 21 days from conclusion of the nomination process. At least 10 presidential candidates are expected to compete in the elections.