Malawians Poke Fun At EU Tweet Over the Delayed Election Report

Malawian Kwacha (file photo).
11 January 2020

EU-EOM head of delegation Poche says the team will publish its controversial final report on the country's disputed presidential elections next month.

Malawians have taken up on various social media platforms to poke fun at the European Union (EU) over its tweet which says European Union Elections Observer Mission (EU-EOM team failed to present its final report on time because airports in the country were closed due to protests.

The EU says the organization's election observer team failed to come in August because airports were closed due to the Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) organized anti-Jane Ansah protests.

However, in the same tweet, Malawian economist and public intellectual Thandika Mkandawire wonders if people would buy the lie since no airport was closed for the reasons given by the EU.

The EU election observer team left the country on Friday for Brussels having failed to present the final report after protests from UTM president Saulos Chilima, MCP president Lazarus Chakwera and the Malawi Law Society.

The two leaders said, in separate statements this week, that the mission was ill-timed as the country is still awaiting the Constitutional Court ruling on the May 21 presidential election results petition.

While the Malawi Law Society (MLS), in a separate statement on Wednesday, argued that the release of the election report was tantamount to undermining the ongoing court process.

EU-EOM chief elections observer Miroslav Poche, a former member of European Parliament from Czech Republic, defended the mission saying the report was not aimed at influencing the outcome of the court case.

He said the EU-EOM agrees with the assessment that the political situation remains fragile in the country for the report's release, but rejected assertions that the report could influence the outcome of the court case.

Poche said: "The report has so many technical issues, recommendations on voting rules, use of State or public media, it could never interfere with the ongoing judicial process."

The mission chief said the report had not declared that the elections were 'free and fair', saying the team kept the details of the final report well guards.

He said the report tackled events that happened during the elections and reforms which must be undertaken.

Poche also pointed out that the final report has a wide range of issues, not just registration, but also civil society, media freedom and voting.

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