Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) got its new Commissioners following the appointment made by the President of the Republic of Malawi H.E Prof. Arthur Peter Mutharika. The appointment was made to fill in the vacancies left by the former Commissioners whose terms of tenure of office ended in June 2016. Given the Constitutional powers vested to MEC to coordinate and supervise the conduct of elections, it is of a great importance for the new Commissioners to undergo BRIDGE training so as to be equipped with knowledge on electoral laws, regulations, procedures and ethics.
The opening of the training was officiated by the Chairman of the Malawi Electoral Commission Hon. Justice Maxon Mbendera, SC. In his opening remarks he insisted on the importance of BRIDGE training and the benefits the new Commissioners, Directors and the Managers were going to reap from the Introduction to Electoral Administration due to its richness in election materials. Prior to the Chairman’s remark, it was preceded by an appreciating note from the European Union, Democratic Governance Programme representative, Mr. Orrison Chaponda who appreciated the efforts of MEC in using diligently the assistance given by the EU DGP. He insisted on the comprehensiveness of the BRIDGE curriculum and the commitment of the Commissioners, Directors and Managers in attending the Course. Meanwhile, the Chief Elections Officer of Malawi Electoral Commission Mr. Willie Kalonga prior to welcoming the Chairman he emphasized on commitment to the training, punctuality and active participation in the course due to the nature of BRIDGE which is a participatory training and uses adult learning methodology.
The BRIDGE facilitation team which prepared and delivered the course comprised:
Deverson Makwete, (M) Workshop Facilitator, MEC, Malawi
Thandi Nkovole, (F) Workshop Facilitator, MEC, Malawi
Emmanuel Kawishe, (M) Accrediting and Lead Facilitator, Consultant, Tanzania
Sangwani Mufulirwa, (M) Semi-accredited Facilitator, MEC, Malawi
At the end of the course, end of course evaluation was made whereby participants were given an opportunity to evaluate the course generally from day one to day four. They rated the course highly. The evaluation was followed by a closing of the course and certification ceremony. All the participants left will well deserved certificates of completion of course.
The BRIDGE course was overall rated very highly by participants. This is borne out by their evaluation comments and ratings with regards to usefulness of the course. Time was a consistent problem across the course and the participants identified this. While every effort is made to accommodate both the participatory nature of the course with the programme, this remains a perennial problem with all BRIDGE courses.