11 October 2018

Malawi: International Governance Body Wants Effective Election Management in Malawi

The International Republican Institute (IRI), a governance think tank based in the United States of America (USA), says it will help strengthen the capacity of Malawi's political parties so that they contribute effectively towards the consolidation of the country's young democracy.

Resident Program Director for IRI Lara Petricevic-Williams said this Tuesday in Lilongwe at the opening of a two day elections management workshop for political parties her institute held in partnership with the Centre for Multiparty Democracy (CMD).

The two organisations are concerned with growing intra party tensions and violence ahead of Malawi's 2019 tripartite elections.

The workshop drew together senior officials from eight political parties with membership to CMD, out of which five are represented in Malawi's National Assembly.

"We support the consolidation of democratic gains in transitioning African states by, among others, promoting free and transparent elections," said Petricevic-Williams.

She added that her organization promotes democratic governance by working with governments, civil society and citizens to find common solutions to problems facing local communities.

"Our work aims to foster open civic and political space where citizens and governments can engage, debate and collaborate to develop themselves".

However, more than two decades since Malawi attained multiparty democracy, the country is still struggling to entrench its democratic systems.

For instance, Intra party tensions and violence are currently prevalent in Malawi as various political parties are agitating to hold primary elections in preparation for the incoming polls.

In the ongoing primaries for the main opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP), some aspirants have disputed the results, leading to crashes between senior party officials and supporters in some places.

CMD Chairperson and Director of Political Affairs for the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Khwauli Msiska commended IRI for financing the workshop, saying it has come at an opportune time to help parties resolve their internal issues ahead of the elections.

"Peace is of essence in elections and it begins with us political parties because we are key stakeholders in the electoral process," insisted Msiska.

United Democratic Front (UDF) Secretary General Kandi Padambo said the workshop was full of resource persons, an exchange of great ideas.

"I am particularly impressed with the elections monitoring aspect which gives our party the technical know how to conduct an effective election monitoring to our own benefit".

Facilitators at the workshop were high caliber scholars drawn from Malawi, Ghana and South Africa.

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