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Vote counting began after polls closed on Tuesday. [Photo: AFP]
Can Malawi succeed where other African countries have failed?
That’s the big question for the country’s electoral commission as it counts the votes following Tuesday’s presidential, parliamentary and council elections.
So far, the commission has given a good account of itself, conducting what seem like well-organised polls.
There have been no major incidents of violence or voting irregularities reported so far and the turnout has been quite impressive across the country.
But the real test is now, as results start trickling into the national tallying centre in Blantyre, where the numbers are being displayed on giant screens as they come in.
The immediate challenge will be for the infrastructure and technology put in place for the transmission of results from remote areas.
All the results are being scanned and sent to the national tallying centre using specially designed forms that have several security features.
The commission has also introduced auditors who will confirm figures before they are released.
This is to deal with basic arithmetic problems that the commission admits happened in the last elections in 2014 .
In Kenya that same system failed spectacularly in 2017 and led to the general election result being successfully challenged in the Supreme Court.
The second challenge will be ensuring that the results counted and announced at polling stations are the ones that eventually make it to the national centre.
Political parties had earlier raised issues with transparency and the commission has to do all it can to ensure they guard this vote’s credibility.
If the electoral commission pulls this off, it will etch its name in the annals of history for having succeeded where other more developed nations failed.
By Emmanuel IgunzaSource: BBC