The Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) has said it will not allow accredited civil society organisations (CSOs) to engage in partisan political activities in the 2019 tripartite elections.
Mec Chairperson, Jane Ansah, said the CSOs must remain neutral to assist the electoral body in fulfilling its mandate.
“As a commission, we will not permit, condone, accommodate, pardon, forgive or entertain anyone [accredited CSOs] that engages in political activities, and [Mec] will not hesitate to sever ties with such organisations,” Ansah said when she presented certificates to the accredited CSOs in Lilongwe.
Ansah asked the CSOs to observe the electoral Code of Conduct and relevant electoral laws.
Mec has accredited 110 organisations after what it called “a rigorous process of scrutiny of the applications” that involved vetting registration certificates as well as making physical visits to establish if the organisations existed.
The CSOs have been accredited to conduct civic and voter education.
“As accredited CSOs there is need to develop activities that will assist the commission to conduct free, fair and credible elections, by coming up with programmes that will increase voter turnout,” she said.
Ansah has urged the CSOs to focus on civic educating and encouraging women who, ironically, are those that vote most yet they form a minority of candidates.
“The youth who regard voting as being not cool should be encouraged to vote and other marginalised groups such as the elderly and people with disabilities should have programmes specially tailored for them,” she said.
Mc Arthur Matukuta of Solomonic Peacocks, one of the accredited CSOs said they are ready to carry out their duties in conducting credible voters’ civic education.
“We have different programmes and ideas outlined to reach out to masses in the country so that they are aware of what is expected of them before we reach 2019 elections,” Matukuta said.