Report on Issues in Preparation for the 1999 General Elections in Malawi, 14 February 1998

Publication Date: 
13 Feb 1998

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Introduction  

This report was prepared as a contribution to the long-term USAID-funded International Foundation for Election Systems Building Democratic Infrastructure Project (IFES Malawi/BDI) which has worked with the Malawi Electoral Commission since October 1996. The members of the team were Joe Baxter, IFES Senior Advisor for Election Administration based in Washington DC, USA and Vic Butler, a British-based elections consultant.

The team traveled to Malawi during the period 25 January to 16 February 1998. Their first few days were focused on reading and discussing material relating to the electoral process in Malawi and the work of the Electoral Commission in particular. Issues which required action, and the need for that action to be the subject of a strategic planning exercise without delay, were discussed with six members of the Electoral Commission at a "brainstorming" meeting in Blantyre on 31 January 1998. Also present and participating in that meeting were Laurie Cooper, IFES Senior Program Officer for Africa and the Near East, and Paul McDermott, IFES/BDI Project Manager.

During the second week the team traveled widely throughout the three Regions of Malawi, Mr Baxter to the Northern Region and Kasungu accompanied by Commissioner Mrs G Chikoko, and Mr Butler to Central and Southern Regions accompanied by Commissioner Mrs S Kambalamatore. The persons with whom they met and discussed the elections due in 1999 and the preparations for those elections are recorded in Appendix A.

Following these visits a period of deliberation and further contacts with people able to offer informed comment and guidance has led to the preparation of this report. Its findings and recommendations are, however, the authors' responsibility alone. The recommendations appear below as extracted from the report chapters to which they relate. The intention is that the reader may assess the recommendations as a whole in reading the introduction, but in order to properly appreciate how the IFES team came to a particular recommendation a full reading of the report is necessary.

Read the Full Report.