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Commonwealth Secretariat supports peace and dialogue in Malawi for upcoming polls

19 June 2020

The Commonwealth Secretariat is supporting “home-grown" initiatives in Malawi designed to help ensure a peaceful and credible re-run of the presidential election. 

The vote is due to be held on 23 June 2020 following the annulment of the results of the 2019 presidential elections.

COVID-19 limitations 

The COVID-19 pandemic has limited the options for direct technical assistance and on-the-ground engagement with key political stakeholders in Malawi. 

Luis Franceschi, Senior Director for Governance and Peace, at the Commonwealth Secretariat, said: "Given the imperatives of supporting credible, inclusive, and peaceful election, the Secretariat is pleased to support the strengthening of on-going national initiatives. 

"The institutions chosen to lead on the assistance have national visibility to ensure a countrywide intervention and have demonstrated credibility and been in the forefront of promoting inclusive democratic participation, civic education, peace and dialogue in Malawi.

"The grant agreement will be tied to concrete outputs and deliverables. We will ensure accountability with partner institutions in the delivery of the initiative."

Funding objectives

Specific objectives of the funding are:

  1. To support advocacy, dialogue, and consensus-building initiatives leading to key stakeholder’s commitment to peace, respect for the rule of law, and human rights.
  2. To support COVID-19 sensitive early warning activities and activation of Electoral Violence Real-Time Monitoring Systems by partner institutions. 
  3.  To support Multimedia peace and electoral justice messaging in administrative district and political constituencies.
  4. To support COVID-19 sensitive domestic election observation, advancing contribution to credible, inclusive, and a peaceful presidential election.

Luis Franceschi said: “The Secretariat continues to support member countries even in these times of COVID-19 as it feeds into one of the most important  strategic outcomes of the Secretary-General’s Good Offices for Peace: which is greater adherence to Commonwealth political values and principles through good offices, elections and electoral support."

Commonwealth Secretariat support

The technical assistance would be delivered through a grant agreement with partner national institutions, National Initiative for Civic Education (NICE), the Public Affairs Committee (PAC) and the 50:50 Campaign Management Agency which have diverse democratic dialogue and peacebuilding mandates and track records.

Joseph Phiri, Executive Director of PAC said: ‘‘PAC and NICE thank the Commonwealth Secretariat for supporting the Consortium of Malawian national institutions at this critical juncture in Malawi’s democratic consolidation process.

“Support will go a long way in enhancing the credibility of the fresh 2020 Presidential election through the deployment of over 6,000 domestic election observers and early warning volunteers throughout electoral constituencies in Malawi.”

Malawi 50:50 Campaign

Viwemi Chavula, Executive Director of the Malawi 50:50 Campaign said: ‘‘The Campaign is grateful to the Commonwealth for supporting a women-focused electoral violence monitoring and Women Election Situation Room (WSR), both of which will contribute to inclusive and safe participation by female voters and referral activities of the campaign during the fresh presidential election’’.