Not all 9 presidential candidates accepted by the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) will participate in the 2019 Malawi Presidential Debates.
The debates are scheduled for Bingu International Convention Centre (BICC) in Lilongwe on March 29 and April 5, 2019.
Chairperson of the Malawi Presidential Debates Taskforce, Teresa Ndanga, told the media in Lilongwe on Monday, February 18, 2019 that the 2019 Debates Taskforce had developed criteria for selecting presidential candidates and only those who meet the set conditions will participate.
“It is important to note that, in developing the criteria, the taskforce has taken into consideration international and regional best practices on debates. We have also used our 2014 experience to make sure that the 2019 debates are more effective,” Ndanga said.
The participating candidate will be required to meet seven of the eight point criteria that the taskforce has developed.
The conditions include that the candidate, party or a coalition is eligible to run as presidential candidate for the 2019 Presidential Elections by successfully completing their candidate registration with MEC. The other conditions are:
- The participating candidate, party or coalition should have at least 5% of the 193 seats in the 2014 Parliament.
- The candidate, party or coalition must have developed and publicly presented a manifesto before the first debate and can demonstrate an active campaign across the country during the campaign period as stated by MEC.
- The candidate, party or coalition must have a demonstrated and proven ability to field no less than 50% of candidates in the Member of Parliament election and the ward councillor election proportionally distributed across all three regions of the country.
- Candidate, party or coalition to participate in 2019 Presidential Debates should be able to demonstrate a national level of presence by having organisational structures across the country that include elected positions at the National Executive Committee, Regional, District, Constituency and area levels across the country.
- Candidate, party or coalition must be able to demonstrate that it has actively participated in the political life of the country during the last five years
- Candidate or party has agreed to abide by a commitment to non-violence and has conducted democratic internal party elections for positions.
The Presidential Debates Taskforce, chaired by the Malawi Chapter of the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA Malawi), includes the Malawi Broadcasting Cooperation (MBC), Times Group, Zodiak Broadcasting Station (ZBS), Centre for Multiparty Democracy (CMD), Democracy Works Foundation (DWF), Civil Society Agriculture Network (CISANET), Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP), Malawi Law Society (MLS), Public Affairs Committee (PAC), Voluntary Service Organisation (VSO), National Initiative for Civic Education (NICE) Trust, and National Democratic Institute (NDI).