MEC Drills Committees on Conflict Management

Members of the Multiparty Liaison Committee (MPLC) have been equipped with skills on conflict management in order to resolve political disputes ahead of the Tripartite Elections next year (2018).

The training was organised by the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC).

The committee, which comprises members from various political parties and stakeholders involved in the election, among others, discussed how to negotiate in times of conflicts, handle complaints by following the stipulated procedures and also identify electoral offences and their related penalties.

Speaking at the opening of the training, MEC Commissioner Yahaya Iman said the aim of the training was to prepare the committee ahead of the country’s general elections scheduled for May 21, next year.

“There are only eight commissioners at MEC who cannot be found everywhere in the country. During elections, it is obvious that there will be conflicts and it is the duty of MPLC to handle such differences on behalf of the commission.

“However, the Multiparty Liaison Committee cannot perform to standards if it is not well capacitated to carry out that task,” said Iman.

Iman said the committee would, during the training, be taken through the mediation and arbitration processes which are crucial to conflict resolution management.

The training, held at Hotel Victoria in Blantyre, attracted committees from the two districts of Chiradzulu and Blantyre.

Senior Chief Kapeni of Blantyre hailed MEC for the training which he said would enable the two committees to effectively manage conflicts before, during and after the elections.

“Where there are two or more people, there shall always be disagreements. Election times are always characterised by conflict and fights and it is very important for the committee to be trained on how to manage such situations,” Kapeni said.

“We commend MEC for organising the training and we expect that more training sessions  would be conducted so that before the elections, we should be fully prepared and together ensure that next year’s elections are a success,” added Senior Chief Kapeni.

In a similar development, MEC also conducted training for MPLCs) from Mwanza and Neno districts who are expected to skilfully handle conflicts and complaints from political parties following the capacity building initiative that was organised for the members from the two districts

Speaking in an interview with Malawi News Agency (Mana) on the sidelines of the training at Mwanza Hotel on Friday, Commissioner Elvy Kalonga Mtafu said MEC values the significant role played by various committees in the electoral process in the country.

“These committees play a crucial role by ensuring that misunderstandings among political parties during electoral process at grass root level are amicably resolved with urgency, hence minimising workload of complaints launched at MEC,” said Mtafu.

She described MPLCs as instrumental in ensuring a free and fair election which the country is expected to hold next year, hence the training. However, she condemned the use of the youth by political parties to incite violence, particularly during political rallies.

Mtafu described the conduct of using the youth as perpetrators of violence as regrettable, saying the youth only end up falling in trouble.

“The youth should not allow to be used to promote certain group of people’s political agenda because they will not gain anything out of it,” said Mtafu, warning that such perpetrators will be dealt with according to the law.

Meanwhile, MEC has said the training for MPLC would be done in all districts of the country.