The people of Malawi have voted in a transparent and mostly peaceful environment. Despite challenges, polling went well in about 99 percent of the centres on May 20, 2014.
The Commission is committed to making Every Vote Count. This can be attested by reports from observer missions including the Commonwealth who have commended MEC for conducting the elections in a free and fair environment.
There were challenges in some 1% of centres but the Commission managed to put in place measures to address them. In centres where polling was delayed, the Commission extended voting into the evening. In the 13 centres where voting was disrupted the Commission re-opened these centres to ensure an opportunity for all voters to exercise their right to vote.
As a Commission we are satisfied that all Malawians who wanted to cast their vote, were given a chance to do so.
Now that the people of Malawi have voted, we must ensure that each and every vote is counted. The MEC’s main concern is to ensure that this process is accurate and transparent.
However, the tallying of results at the Constituency Returning Officer level has been slow. Therefore, to speed up the process the MEC is bringing all results to the National Tally Center here in Blantyre for data entry. This will allow for political parties and observers to even more closely monitor the process of tallying.
The MEC met with key stakeholders yesterday to discuss this step. The result was announced yesterday in a jointly signed press statement that was endorsed by the political parties, civil society, the Centre for Multiparty Democracy and the Malawi Human Rights Commission. The statement reflected on the consensus among stakeholders that the MEC should be given the time, space and support to do its work.
The arrival of results has progressed well since yesterday. As of 8 AM this morning we have captured results into the system from over 12 percent of polling centres. The Commission is expanding its staff and facilities at the National Tally Center to further speed up data entry. From this point forward we will prioritize entry of presidential results. As the day progresses, we will continue to provide results to political party monitors for verification.
When we reach 30% of the national results we will announce those preliminary results. However, let me emphasize that the Commission will not be hurried to announce results. We will ensure that we are exact and that every complaint received is addressed and resolved.
The Commission has received 135 complaints to its Complaints Handling Unit so far and is considering each and every one. The MEC Complaint Handling Unit has already contacted back most of those that have submitted complaints. Those that have not yet been contacted back will be contacted soon.
The MEC is maintaining a register of complaints at the Complaints Handling Unit and is methodically assessing and resolving these complaints. It is important that where complaints are submitted, those with complaints should present evidence to support their concerns.
Ladies and gentleman, the Commission is committed to a process that is accurate and transparent. We appreciate the support of our stakeholders and our common goal to ensure a free and fair election.
Thank you and God Bless You.