The Malawi Electoral Commission, which is struggling to pay polling staff for May 20 elections, has announced it will no longer engage teachers as presiding officers and supervisors in future Presidential, Parliamentary and Local Government Elections.
The Commission, currently conducting post-elections review meetings across the country, says teachers, highly used in theMay 20 tripartite elections, have proved ineffective.
This comes barely few days after Teachers Union of Malawi (Tum) announced that it will never allow teachers work for the electoral body since Mec has not yet paid teachers for their services in the 2014 tripartite elections.
Commissioner Gloria Chingota asserted that during the 2019 polls, the electoral body will advertise for the positions of presiding officers and supervisors.
But TUM described the move as “unfortunate”, claiming that the Commission failed to provide the teachers with sufficient resources for the May 20 polls.
“Teachers are not the ones to blame as they were not given the required equipment to execute their duties,” said TUM general secretary Denis Kalekeni.
One teacher, who was engaged in May 20 polls and asked for anonymity, also blamed the Commission as it did not spare time to verify and scrutinise the presiding officers and supervisors if they were really teachers.
“Where I live, people from Agriculture, Admarc, hospital workers, vendors, students, ands chool leavers were also recruited leaving many teachers kindly willing to take part.
“Now how do you expect high quality services from such kind of people?,” she queried.
The elections review meeting being conducted at Council level are aimed at reflecting on the May 20 polls.
“In the past elections, election review meetings have been conducted at national level. Although such approach is good but it denies an opportunity to get reflections at the local or council level,” said Chingota.
She observed that there are many challenges and best practices experienced at council level, which may not be well highlighted at national conferences.