Malawi: MEC Identifies Problems in Poll Results Management System

Photo: IRIN
(file photo)

Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) has identified problems and weaknesses in the election results management system ahead of the May 21 Tripartite Elections.

MEC chairperson Jane Ansah (C) with commissioner Jean Mathanga: MEC has ample time to address the network issue

MEC commissioner Jean Mathanga said there were visible problems, saying the system struggled to connect with tally centres from the start.

"The network providers have assured us that they will improve the network. However, once we were connected, everything went on well," she said.

UNDP technical advisor Richard Cox was all praises for MEC.

"This will enhance the trust between the people and MEC. The whole idea is to see to it that the whole system is working," said Cox.

MEC places staff and equipment in all the constituency tally centres and also set up a testing main tally centre in Blantyre.

Sangwani Mwafulirwa, the MEC spokesperson said the polling equipment staff were given sample results for the purpose of the test transmission from the constituency tally centres to the main tally centre.

The MEC spokesperson says a second targeted test will be run again before polling day only for the constituency tally centres where challenges maybe encountered during the first run.

MEC chief elections officer Sam Alfandika said the commission envisaged some problems in some centres and would want the test to help them address the challenges before May 21.

"Issues to do with congestion over the network and possibility of unlawful access to the network will be critically assessed during this test," he said in a statement.

UNDP chief technical advisor on elections Richard Cox has also expressed delight in the dry run test success, saying it clears doubts of the transmission integrity of the results management.

He said UNDP continues to support the electoral body to ensure that the transmission system goes smoothly on polling day, pointing out that it is difficult to have " an absolute watertight system that cannot be hacked from anywhere,"

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