MEC faults newspaper article exposing donors’ shortfalls during Malawi elections

Chief Elections Officer for the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) Willie Kalonga has described as misleading and misrepresentation of fact the local daily article he was quoted having partly blaming the Malawi donor partners for the challenges that were faced during the polling period.

Under a headline “Donors exposed” that appeared in the Nation on Sunday of June 8, 2014, Kalonga was quoted admitting that the donors failed to meet almost half of their budget for support to the Commission.

“Donor’s whose 40 percent contrition to the K18.4billion tripartite election budget was mostly to pay for voting materials, the donors only managed to pay 22 percent of the pledge,” Kalonga was quoted as saying.

Kalonga:  Blames newspaper

Kalonga: Blames newspaper

But in a statement released on Wednesday, Kalonga distanced himself from the remarks saying the article is misleading and not a true reflection of the commitment and support which the Development Partners have rendered to MEC during the elections.

“The donors fulfilled their commitments in this process, and it is improper to attribute to them the challenges that were faced during the polling period,” Kalonga says.

He says there is no one from the Commission that would support the assertion that the Development Partners have not met their financial commitments to the process.

He adds that monthly high-level meetings have been held with the Development Partners on the funding and progress of the elections.

“The donors have delivered what was agreed with the MEC and the Government of Malawi. The donors committed to pay for the printing of ballot papers and essential polling materials, such as, ballot boxes, voting screens and indelible ink.

“The Commission together with UNDP worked out a schedule of procurement and delivery of the electoral materials and it all worked according to the agreed timelines. In the case of ballot papers they even came earlier than planned. It is also not correct to allege that there were some shortages in the electoral materials that were supplied.”

Kalonga said the quantities of the materials procured were verified by the Commission and on every item there was a contingency provision.

“The use of plastic pails in some centers cannot be attributed to the donors. This was because of logistical challenges that some councils faced during the polling phase. However, the Commission managed to deliver ballot boxes to such centres before the close of polling day,” Kalonga says.

He says the Commission however acknowledges that challenges were faced during the election but “the Commission would like to urge all electoral stakeholders to disregard the contents of the article as misleading and not a true reflection of the facts on the ground.”

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