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Lessons from Malawi’s Presidential Elections of 23 June 2020

31 August 2020
11:00 CAT (GMT +2)
Online (Closed Meeting)

Malawi held fresh Presidential elections following a Constitutional Court order of the 3rd of February 2020 that nullified the Presidential election that had been held on the 21st of May 2019, which decision was upheld by the Supreme Court of Appeal on the 8th of May 2020. A new Commission was appointed on the 7th of June 2020, and conducted the fresh presidential election on the 23rd of June 2020. 

Announcing the Presidential Election Results on the 27th of June 2020, the Chairperson of the Malawi Electoral Commission, Hon Justice Dr Chifundo Kachale, said ‘ First of all, we would like to express our gratitude to the people of Malawi for being patient and calm while we were undertaking the results management processes since the elections happened on 23rd of June. The Commission could not hasten to pronounce the results at the expense of quality and legality and that’s why we took a bit of time.

ECF-SADC Executive Committee Resolution of 24th June 2020

Following a Webinar held on the 3rd June 2020 on upholding electoral integrity in the Southern Africa region in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic organized by the Electoral Commission Forum of SADC Countries (ECF-SADC) in partnership with International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA) , the two partners found the need to continue with the discussions aimed at  peer learning  and capacity building of EMBs in the SADC  region. 

In line with the ECF-SADC mandate of strengthening peer learning amongst EMBs, cooperation and support amongst member Commissions, the Executive Committee Meeting of the ECF-SADC held on 24th June 2020 recommended that Malawi Electoral Commission should be given a platform to share their experience with other member Commissions on the fresh Presidential Elections on 23rd June 2020.

Against this background, the ECF-SADC in collaboration with International IDEA will organize a Webinar  to facilitate conversations on the perspectives on the role of the judiciary in elections particularly in view of recent judgements in Malawi and South Africa. The exchanges will also allow EMBs and other stakeholders to draw lessons from the recent elections in Malawi. Specifically, on operational aspects and the impact of COVID-19 and the implications on the overall cost of elections. 

The expected output is an advisory memo to inform the ECF-SADC 22nd Annual General Conference deliberations on election management in the Southern Africa region and development of relevant guidelines and policies.

Participants: Senior representatives of ECF –SADC member commissions, International IDEA and other invited ECF-SADC partner organizations.

Key questions:

  • What are the emerging electoral issues and legal opinions on Malawi and South Africa Judgements? What are the lessons on electoral justice from these judgments?
  • How did the MEC respond to the lessons from the first presidential elections (the tipex question amongst others) and to the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic?
  • What were the implications of the pandemic and the court judgement for the overall cost of elections in Malawi?
  • What are the lessons on key issues, including risks and challenges from the conduct of elections in Malawi?

Meeting Languages: English, French and Portuguese


Draft Agenda

11:00-11:05: Introduction, welcome and ground rules – facilitator

11:05-11:25: Welcome remarks-

  • Professor Adebayo Olukoshi, Director Africa and West Asia, – International IDEA (10mins)
  • Adv. Notemba Tjipueja, ECF-SADC Executive Committee Chairperson (10mins)

11:25-11:30: Overview of the programme and purpose of meeting- Ms Hilda Modisane, Executive Secretary, ECF-SADC (5mins)

11:30-12:10: Lessons learnt and perspectives from 23rd June 2020 Presidential Elections in Malawi:

  • Political context of the rerun presidential elections – Dr Augustine Magolowondo, Democracy Works Foundation (10 mins)
  • Technical conduct of the Malawi elections – Mr Sam Alfandika, CEO Malawi Electoral Commission( MEC)10 min
  • Lessons on electoral justice: 
    • ECF-SADC President & Chairperson – Malawi Electoral Commission Justice Dr Chifundo J. Kachale (10 mins)
    • Dr Sundu Madise, Faculty of Law, University of Malawi (10 mins)

12:10-12:45 Discussion

  • Comments from IEC South Africa on lessons on electoral justice (10 mins)
  • Remarks and responses from EMBs

12:45-13:00 Wrap up and next steps – Hilda Modisane


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