ECM Statement on Fresh Presidential Elections

Saturday, 27th June 2020

We the Catholic Bishops of the Episcopal Conference of Malawi (ECM), having received reports from a Consortium of NICE, PAC and CCJP regarding processes leading to the voting, counting, transmission of results, tallying and announcement of results have come to a
conclusion that the Fresh Presidential Election was generally free, fair and peaceful. Malawians exercised their democratic right on 23rd June 2020 to elect a Republican President in the Fresh Presidential Election. This is in the wake of the nullified May 2019 Presidential
Election. The successful holding of the Fresh Presidential Election has been a result of concerted efforts from various non-state and state electoral stakeholders and the citizenry at large. The Episcopal Conference of Malawi (ECM) duly recognizes the critical roles played
by these actors. We particularly applaud the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC), Malawi Defense Force (MDF), Malawi Police Service (MPS), Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), the media and the citizens for attaining this democratic milestone amidst political, institutional and financial hiccups and uncertainties.

The Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) has displayed very high level of professionalism in presiding over the fresh election. It is further gratifying and commendable that the newly constituted MEC effectively delivered the election while facing acute financial deficiencies.
Such competence and exquisite capacity in handling the polls has restored the public trust in election management in Malawi.

Security and the maintenance of law and order are prerequisites for a free, fair and peaceful electoral process. We commend the Malawi Defense Force (MDF) for bolstering the security in safeguarding the vote as well as protecting the citizens, voters and polling staff during
polling and subsequent exercises like vote counting, transmission of results and tallying. It is also imperative to note that the Malawi Police Service (MPS) demonstrated exceptional professional standards in dealing with criminal activities during the Election Day. We commend the MPS for enforcing law and order.

Domestic election observation is central to determining the credibility of any election. Responsible and ethical reporting on elections is also critical considering the emotive nature of elections. We commend the Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and all faith based bodies for effective observation of the election to enhance its credibility. Media practitioners, particularly the private media, should also be applauded for professionally informing and educating Malawians on the fresh polls through responsible reporting. Generally, the citizens have been peaceful despite sporadic cases of violence on the polling day. The citizenry has been steadfast in jealously guarding against their vote. Such vigilant and active citizenship cannot go without notice.

With final announcement of the results of the Fresh Presidential Election by the Malawi Electoral Commission, we wish to extend our hearty congratulations to His Excellency Dr. Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera, President-Elect of the Republic of Malawi and Rt. Hon. Dr. Saulos Klaus Chilima, Vice President-Elect of the Republic of Malawi. We strongly call upon them to live up to their promises and be committed to fighting corruption, enforcing the rule of law and Constitutionalism, quality public service delivery, economic development for all which is a true meaning of leadership which is at the service of citizens and national unity.

We Catholic Bishops pledge to continue praying for peace, unity and harmony in this country. And we invite all the faithful to continue praying for the same.

Holy Mary, Mother of God and Queen of Peace, Pray for us and our country, Malawi!

Most Reverend Thomas Msusa – Chairman and Archbishop of Blantyre
Right Reverend Martin Mtumbuka – Vice-Chairman and Bishop of Karonga
Most Reverend Tarsizio Ziyaye – Archbishop of Lilongwe
Right Reverend Peter Musikuwa – Bishop of Chikwawa
Right Reverend Montfort Stima – Bishop of Mangochi
Right Reverend George Tambala – Bishop of Zomba
Right Reverend John Ryan – Bishop of Mzuzu
Very Reverend John Chithonje – Diocesan Administrator of Dedza