Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Misconceptions of An Article Entitled 'Donors Exposed'

(for Immediate release 10/06/2014)

The Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) wishes to correct several issues that were misrepresented in the article titled Donors Exposed that appeared in The Nation on Sunday of June 8, 2014.

First, the Commission finds the headline and contents of the article to be misleading and not a true reflection of the commitment and support which the Development Partners have rendered to MEC during the elections period. The article does not reflect the views of the Chief Elections Officer or the Commission.

The donors fulfilled their commitments in this process, and it is improper to attribute to them the challenges that were faced during the polling period.

Secondly, there is no one from the Commission that would support the assertion that the Development Partners have not met their financial commitments to the process. Monthly high-level meetings have been held with the Development Partners on the funding and progress of the elections. The donors have delivered what was agreed with the MEC and the Government of Malawi.

The donors committed to pay for the printing of ballot papers and essential polling materials, such as, ballot boxes, voting screens and indelible ink. The Commission together with UNDP worked out a schedule of procurement and delivery of the electoral materials and it all worked according to the agreed timelines. In the case of ballot papers they even came earlier than planned.

It is also not correct to allege that there were some shortages in the electoral materials that were supplied. The quantities of the materials procured were verified by the Commission and on every item there was a contingency provision.

The use of plastic pails in some centres cannot be attributed to the donors. This was because of logistical challenges that some councils faced during the polling phase. However, the Commission managed to deliver ballot boxes to such centres before the close of polling.

The Commission also wishes to put on record that it started distributing non-sensitive polling materials on May 6, 2014. Distribution of sensitive materials like ballot papers was done close to the polling day for security reasons and this was according to schedule.

The Commission would like to urge all electoral stakeholders to disregard the contents of the article as misleading and not a true reflection of the facts on the ground. The Commission acknowledges that challenges were faced in this election process and we are analyzing these issues to improve our processes and systems.

The Commission led and implemented the election process, and as Malawians, we should be, and are, accountable. Casting about for excuses is not the way forward. We can only improve with honest reflections on the process of these elections and this Commission welcomes such feedback. The article in The Nation does nothing but
serve to distract us from those responsibilities.

Willie Kalonga

Chief Elections Officer

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