Commissioners and staff from the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) and secretaries general from political parties will participate in a five-day Building Resources in Democracy, Governance and Elections (BRIDGE) on election dispute resolution workshop in Blantyre.
The workshop has been organised by the MEC with financial and technical assistance for the African Union Commission
Opening the workshop on Monday, September 7, 2015, the Chairperson of the MEC, Justice Maxon Mbendera SC said he was very pleased that the African Union availed the financial support and human resource to support to hold the workshop, which contributes to preparedness for the 2019 elections.
Justice Mbendera added that the Electoral Commission was always proud to conduct BRDGE trainings because of their prestige and depth of information.
“As a Commission, we cherish this kind of support and applaud the AU for the commitment to support the Commission to build its capacity. Believe you me, we always find ourselves in a much different context and with much vigour to deliver the best election whenever we have had these trainings,” he said.
On his part, Dr. Salif Sada Sall, Head of Southern Region Office of the African Union Commission called on the participants to use the skills and knowledge from the training to make a significant difference in their work.
Dr Sall also reminded the participants that the skills they would acquire were not only for their individual benefit but also for the benefit of their organisations and Malawi as a nation.
Dr Sall also expressed the expectation of the African Union Commission that Member States like Malawi who benefit from these training will put them to good use and make sure that participants who are trained will be given the opportunity to put the newly acquired skills to use at the workplace. The trainings in themselves will not bring the needed change unless the trainees are given the opportunity to use their skills.
“The topic for this training, “Election Dispute Resolution” is at the heart of peace electoral processes. In the management of electoral processes, conflicts are often inevitable, but what is important is how they are resolved when they occur.
“And it is important to note that conflicts can be resolved peacefully if we are committed to peaceful electoral outcome. I have no doubt that, this course will help us to learn new approaches to resolving our differences before, during and after elections. At the end, we also look forward to improved team building and strong partnership between the Malawi Electoral Commission and political parties in Malawi towards building a peaceful and stable democratic society” he said
BRIDGE is a joint project of International IDEA, IFES, the Australian Electoral Commission, the UN Electoral Assistance Division and UNDP; as such it is a unique combination of international capacities for the electoral process.