18 May 2019

Malawi: Mbeki to Issue Commonwealth Observer Group's Interim Statement On Election On May 23

Former South Africa President, Thabo Mbeki, who is leading a delegation of the Commonwealth Observer Group for Malawi's tripartite elections on Tuesday, May 21, has assured Malawians that they shall issue an interim statement on its findings two days after the polling day, May 23.

Mbeki addressing the media on Saturday at Crossroads Hotel in Blantyre

"A final report will then be prepared and submitted to the Commonwealth Secretary-General, who will forward it to the Government of Malawi, the Electoral Commission, the leaders of political parties, and thereafter to all Commonwealth Governments and it will also be made available to the general public," he said at a press briefing he had at Crossroads Hotel in Blantyre on Saturday.

Mbeki, whose delegation has been in the country since Wednesday, said he was honoured to accept MEC's invitation to observe the elections and that each of them brings a different perspective.

"The resultant COG which is now in Malawi is made up of 12 eminent persons drawn from across the different regions of the Commonwealth, including Africa, Asia, Europe and the Caribbean.

"Some of us are politicians, while others have served as election commissioners, worked in the media, on human rights with some serving as gender and youth advocates.

"As we observe the electoral process, we will act impartially and independently. The process of observing elections entails scrutinizing their organisation and conduct, which includes assessing the pre-election environment, polling day activities and post-election period.

"As the COG we will do all this, as well as assess whether the elections have been conducted in accordance with the laws of Malawi and the international and regional standards to which Malawi has committed itself.

"Since Wednesday we, the COG, have been briefed by a wide range of stakeholders, including the Malawi Electoral Commission, the Malawi Police Service, leaders and representatives of the political parties, civil society organizations, the diplomatic community, women's and youth groups, the media, citizen observers and other international observer missions.

"We have also been briefed on the technical support the Commonwealth has provided to Malawi in advance of the tripartite elections and in this regard we received updates on the progress following a training workshop for media executives on the implementation of the Media Code of Conduct for fair and balanced reporting of the elections.

"We also received a briefing on a workshop held to empower women candidates in leadership, conflict sensitivity and campaign skills."

Mbeki further said on Sunday, the observers will be deployed across the three regions -- Blantyre, Thyolo, Zomba, Mangochi, Lilongwe, Salina and Mzuzu working in pairs and will observe preparations ahead of polling day, the opening, voting, closing and counting on elections day as well as results management processes.

"The COG is aware that this is Malawi's second tripartite elections and full appreciates its significance to the people. Our presence here affirms the support of the Commonwealth for this country and its democracticnprocesses.

"We take this opportunity to wish the people of Malawi peaceful and credible elections whose results should truly represent the will of the people. We, therefore, hope that the elections will be conducted in such a manner that its results are accepted by all the contestants, as well as the people of Malawi.

"In the event that disputes arise after the announcement of the results, we urge all those concerned to resort to the Courts of the land to resolve such disputes.

"The COG conveys its best wishes to the people of Malawi as they prepare to exercise their constitutional right to vote on May 21, thus to continue to play a central role in terms of determining their destiny, said Mbeki, the second post-Apartheid South African President after Nelson Mandela.

The Commonwealth is a voluntary association of 53 independent and equal sovereign states and is home to 2.4 billion people and includes both advanced economies and developing countries.

Thirty one of its members are small states, many of which are island nations.

Accompanying Mbeki will be Paula C.M. Lee (Commissioner, Electoral Commission , Antigua and Barbuda); Prof Simon Munzu (Former UN Deputy Special Representative for Côte d'Ivoire, Cameroon); David Langtry (Deputy Chief Commissioner, Canadian Human Rights Commission, Canada); Aaron Joshua Pinto (International Trade and Investment Associate, Consulate General of Canada in New York, Canada); Hon Fatoumata Jallow Tambajang (Former Vice President and Minister of Women Affairs, The Gambia); Seabata Motsami(Chairperson of Lesotho Council of Non-Governmental Organisations, Lesotho).

Also in the delegation are: Prof Attahiru Jega (Former Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission, Nigeria); Marvi Memon (Former Federal Minister and Member of Parliament, Pakistan); Charmain Naidoo (Former Journalist Sunday Times, South Africa); Terry Dale Ince (Organizational Development Consultant CEDAW, Gender and Human Rights Advocate Trinidad and Tobago) and Henry Hogger (Former Diplomat, United Kingdom).

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