Multiparty Liaison Committee members in Chikwawa on Tuesday banged heads to figure out gaps and successes of the just ended May 21 Tripartite Elections.
The meeting, organized by Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) under Chikwawa Diocese with funding from USAID through International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES)-was part of post-election postmortem undertaken by electoral stakeholders in the district.
Chikwawa Diocesan Coordinator for CCJP, Lewis Msiyadungu, said the meeting was aimed at analyzing what went wrong on election day and how best to strategize in future elections.
“There is a need to have an election postmortem process to see how Chikwawa District faired during the polling day and even days prior to the elections,” said Msiyadungu.
He added: “We really need to see where we went wrong and where we did well as a measure to assess on how best we can do in future elections.”
Political parties’ representatives argued that most presiding officers and their staff particularly teachers were far too inconsistent in their duties.
Democratic People’s Congress (Depeco) District Governess, Doreen Kadzuwa, claimed some presiding officers largely undermined party monitors, treating them as worthless.
The committee also shared the concern that the May 21st election was riddled with massive null and void votes.
In his response, Chikwawa District Civic Education Officer for the National Initiative for Civic Education (NICE) Public Trust, Joseph Chamambala, largely attributed the development to illiterate voters.
“Literacy levels are very low here, that made most voters mark or thump-print the ballot boxes wrongly.
“Moving forward, there’s a need for us as Nice to do more in civic educating the masses on what a null and void vote constitutes and how best we can address such irregularities,” said Chamambala.
Senior Chief Ngabu, however, faulted political parties across the district for inciting violence during the campaign.
Ngabu further called on politicians in Chikwawa Nkombezi and Chikwawa South to tame their supporters and urge them not to get involved in any violence in future elections.
“We should embrace co-existence at all cost and this will help build a good image of our district. Violence has no place in multiparty democracy,” pointed out Chief Ngabu.
Chikwawa Police Station Officer-In-Charge, Davie Chingwalu, said no violence was recorded on the polling day since the law enforcers had upped their security measures.
The meeting brought together various stakeholders including party representatives, government and non-governmental officials and the media.