NICE Public Trust as one of the major stakeholder in Elections in Malawi is taking part in the two conferences onelections in October. The first conference which is “Sustaining Peace through Elections” which has been organised by the United Nations Development Programme, the European External Action Service and the European Commission will take place from 8-11 October, 2018.
The Conference aims at revisiting existing methods to deflect conflicts and electoral violence. Participants at the Conference will debate if political dialogue and peace declarations are efficient tools to promote peace and if it can prevent violence in electoral processes through the monitoring of pre-electoral moments, such as the voter registration, candidate nominations, internal party elections/nominations, among other topics.
According to NICE Executive Director Mr. Ollen Mwalubunju, the conference is timely and very important to NICE as the major civic education body in Malawi as a country because of the already existing conflicts on the ground as we are getting closer to the second Tripartite Election next year on 21st May 2018. Mwalubunju also said that, “given the expected competitiveness of the forthcoming elections and the early warnings so far observed, the Conference will give opportunity for Malawi stakeholders gain and share experiences that could add value for a free, fair and peaceful elections.”
The second conference is on “The Future of International Election Observation” and has been organised on 10th and 11th October by the European Parliament, and the European External Action Service. The Conference will bring together key electoral stakeholders from partner countries and organisations, for an open and interactive discussion on new challenges and opportunities on electoral processes, including the impact of the use of ICT and social media as well as preventing election-related violence. The Conference will be opened by Mr. Antonio Tajani, the President of the European, and Mrs. Federica Mogherini-the High representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice President of the European Commission together with the representatives from African Union and United Nations.
It is expected the two high level conferences will bring invaluable expertise on how to support the strengthening of democratic institutions, build public confidence in electoral processes, and help to deter fraud, intimidation and violence.
Malawi just like any other nation in the world, the ICT inclusive of social media plays a vital role in everyday life and not just the elections. As Malawi is getting geared towards the elections, use of social media is very important and through NICE, Malawi will learn from other countries on how they effectively use social media on electoral related. Another critical aspects of ICT which is increasingly becoming a bone of contention is use of ICT in transmission of election results, this is an area which should be given adequate attention, especially in Africa-the matter has been a source of disputed elections in some countries.
The Delegation from Malawi that have been funded the European Union-Malawi Office to attend the two Conferences include; Mr Ollen Mwalubunju the Executive Director of NICE, Steven Duwa-the Chairperson of the Pan African Civic Educator Network ( PACENET) and Justice Dr Jane Ansah-the Chairperson of the Malawi Electoral Commission.