By Duncan Mlanjira
Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) is in the process of identifying printers for ballot papers and other associated polling materials and when the process commences, it shall inform all political parties where the printer shall be located so that those wishing to go and inspect the printing exercise would be free to do so at their own expense.
This was disclosed by MEC’s Chief Elections Officer Sam Alfandika on Tuesday when he addressed the Parliamentary Committee on government assurances and public services, which had invited the Commission to be briefed on the progress made on the preparatory activities for the upcoming tripartite elections and the challenges MEC is facing.
“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.
He also said they are also working on the result management system on which MEC shall position the Constituency Returning Officers in their constituencies unlike in 2014 where they were stationed at the council offices.
“The procedure for results counting is that votes will be counted per stream and the presiding officer will prepare a summary for that polling centre (with polling centre results in figures and words and signed by all party monitors and other stakeholders).
“The results will also be pasted at the centre and each monitor will also get a copy of the stream results and centre summary for each position contested for. The presiding officer will then take the results to the Constituency Returning Office.”
He said the CRO will receive the results and do tally for each ward, Constituency and for the presidential elections and shall then transmit results direct to the main tally centre in Blantyre and later take the results to the council office for the district commissioner to compile the district tally.
“A significant new aspect in results management is that the Commission will introduce the use of independent external auditors to verify the results at the constituency tally centres and the national tally centre before any transmission or official announcement is made.”
He added that MEC has put in place appropriate measures that shall ensure that all polling materials are delivered on time at all polling stations and that a day before polling, all presiding officers at every polling centre shall be expected to verify and confirm with MEC 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. The Commission undertakes to continue to employ stringent measures to ensure that the whole process up to management and processing of results is carried out with utmost credibility.”