International Election Observation

Election Observation

The laws in Malawi allow for electoral observation as such the Malawi Electoral Commission always invites stakeholders to observe elections a year or earlier before the polling day. Even without the invitation of the Commission, stakeholders willing to observe the polls are free to approach the Commission to express their intention.

The Malawi Electoral Commission values the role of electoral observers to holding of free, fair and credible elections. As such the Commission made an undertaking to scrap off accreditation fee. However, the electoral observers are expected to operate within the provisions of the electoral laws and other legislations of Malawi. They are also supposed to abide by the code of conduct for electoral observers and other codes of conduct that have been put in place to facilitate smooth conduct of the elections.

The Commission also endeavour’s to facilitate easy work for observers by providing relevant information. An observer information kit can be accessed on this site under accredation. Further information can also be accessed from the Commission’s head office at Chisankho House in Blantyre or by emailing ceo@mec.org.mw

Before elections, all the accredited election observers are invited to briefing sessions, during which the MEC gives out information  on the state of preparedness.

When to observe?

Once an electoral calendar for elections has been released, the Commission invites stakeholders to observe the polls. The invitation letter is accompanied by a copy of the electoral calendar to assist the observers to plan, whether and when to deploy long term or short term missions. Observers are welcome to observe all the phases of the electoral process starting from registration, nomination, campaign, polling and results declaration. However, in practice many missions have tended to come closer to the polling time.

Classification of observers

In the conduct of elections, two categories of Elections observers are accredited and these are International observers and Local or Domestic Observers. 

  • International Elections Observers: these include International bodies or organizations, embassies or foreign missions to the Republic of Malawi, International Charitable Organisations, internationally established democracy and good governance organizations, foreign media houses among others. Diplomats accredited to Malawi who are designated and recognized as international observers under the electoral laws shall exercise their functions as such international observers without prejudice to their status and positions as such diplomats.
  • Local/Domestic Elections Observers: This category includes local charitable organisations, locally established democracy and good governance organisations, local media houses, Civil Society Organisations, faith and religious organizations, among others.

Accreditation process

The Commission has simplified the process of accreditation to the extent that accreditation can be processed before arrival. Observation teams once they have expressed their interest and the Commission has approved, they are expected to send the Commission electronic pictures of team members in Jpeg or Tiff format saved with both names of the holder as they would want them to appear on the accreditation card. The Commission appreciates if such information is sent in advance before arrival so that the secretariat has ample time to process the accreditation cards. Processing of accreditation cards in done in Blantyre but if teams send their information and itinerary in time, the secretariat does arrange for collection of the identity cards in the regional offices in Lilongwe and Mzuzu.

Previous observation reports

For the May 2014 Tripartite Elections, the Commission received an increased number of observer teams. Reports about their teams can be accessed HERE