Preliminary Report on the Malawian Parliamentary and Presidential election
This forms the ideal background to a vibrant election.
On a positive note:
There appears to have been a wide coverage of the electorate on electoral issues. Although funds were a major constraint, there were a multiplicity of players that addressed this area which include the Commission itself. political parties. churches, non governmental organizatIon, the media, traditional authoritIes, trade unions and drama groups .Promotional materials and brochures were also prepared and given away to the general population.
Areas of concern:
There were insufficient funds for the Non Governmental Organizations to conduct civic education which led to the exercise being left at the behest of political parties and other government sponsored agencies. For example whilst 21 NGOs were accredited only 6 succeeded in getting money to finally conduct civic education. There appears to be a poor relationship and mistrust between the commission and non governmental organizations which led to government working with government aligned agencies. The civic education that local authorities were exposed to, did not sufficiently filter down to the constituencies below them. Some people appear to have been disillusioned about the performance of the government such that they do not feel the need to vote. Civic education being done by political parties was biased and this could have lead to the ballot being tilted towards the party that had the largest outreach which would invariably be the ruling party. On election day itself the officials had to conduct voter education on how to vote prior to issuing out the ballot papers.