Centre for Youth Empowerment & Training (CYET), a non governmental organization located in Chiradzulu district wishes to express its gratitude for the lifting of the suspension of electoral activities at Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) by the state president.
Prior to the closure, our organization was amongst the organizations accredited to carry voter and civic education in Chiradzulu district. We were even offered training by National Initiative for Civic Education (NICE). A few months after the training, it was quite a big blow to establish that these two important institutions in the local government election process were no longer in operation.
Despite that challenge, CYET managed to create a civic and voter education project which has since then been involved in offering civic and voter education in such villages as Walala, Kadzombe and Mkwanda.
The reinstalling of Malawi Electoral Commission is indeed a great boast to all the organizations accredited by MEC. We assume that MEC will offer us the support required, in conjunction with Malawi Electoral Support Network (MESN, so as to fully civic educate the community which is meanwhile ignorant of the rest of the election information.
We equally assume that funding might as well be released to certain organizations which were already accredited for this coming local government election.
We meanwhile understand that the elections will finally take place contrary to the fears and misconceptions which have been circulating for the past months. It is our hope that all the important election processes will be observed and any preparations will be carried out in time so as to ensure free and fair elections.
Centre for Youth Empowerment & Training (CYET) indeed agree that councilors play a big role in development. They are responsible for soliciting views of people regarding developmental activities required in their respective areas. Absence of councilors makes the Member of Parliament a little bit ineffective as it gives them a lot of task in their constituencies instead of concentrating on their normal role of debating bills in parliament as well as national budget issues.
Whilst we accept that there is minimal time we still hope Malawi Electoral Commission in conjunction with Malawi Electoral support Network (MESN) will assist us in creating a monitoring mechanism in our district with the closure of National Initiative for Civic Education (NICE).
We however hope that the district elections office is going to serve as a bridge at district level considering the fact that several community based organizations were already trained by NICE but however have no funding and may require guidance when it comes to preparing a balanced voter and civic education campaign.
The challenge which is however existing is that unlike the past when accreditation was given it was followed by direct funding from MEC. This time around accredited organizations have to seek their own funding.
Most of the accredited organizations appear to have ignored the entire exercise yet they were allocated specific areas to conduct their voter and civic education. If these organizations don’t engage in voter and civic education in the view that they are not funded then it actually indicates that their respective areas will suffer voter apathy.
We therefore urge Malawi Electoral Support Network (MESN) to continue playing its pivotal role in coordinating election activities and ensuring that even if funding may not be available a mechanism is still employed
Joseph Mizimbe Kizito Fillip Musaya
Executive Director Communications Manager
Cell: 0 999 660 263