The funding woes that have rocked various government departments and parastatals have not spared the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) as it has yet again failed to start another crucial activity in the preparation for Local Government by-elections.
The Commission has cancelled voter verification and registration exercise which was supposed to run from today, Friday, May 8 to Tuesday, May 12, 2015 in all the five wards where the by-elections are scheduled to take place on June 23, 2015.
The electoral body also cancelled launch activities for the by-elections that were scheduled to take place in the wards on April 30, 2015 due to the same problems of funding.
In a statement released on Friday, May 8, 2015, Chief Elections officer Willie Kalonga says the decision has been reached at because the MEC was unable to prepare for the exercise due to delay by government in releasing funding for the by-elections within the current financial year.
“As a result of this delay, the Commission has been unable to recruit and train registration staff, print the voters register for verification, buy registration materials and conduct mobilization meetings for the exercise.
“The Commission sincerely apologises to all stakeholders for the inconvenience this might cause and is assuring them that discussions are still ongoing with government. The Commission will advise on a new date and á revised calendar for the by-elections once the situation becomes clearer,” reads part of the statement.
Treasury Spokesperson, Nation Msowoya claimed there was no record of MEC submitting a budget for the by-elections.
However, MEC spokesperson, Sangwani Mwafulirwa in an interview insisted that the electoral body submitted its budget for the by-elections pegged at K403 million.
Asked how the Commission would start preparations for the by-elections when it had not yet received funding from government, Mwafulirwa said they were moved to kick-start activities because there was commitment from Ministry of Finance.
“There was high level commitment from government that funding would be provided upon submission of budget to enable MEC to conduct the by-elections within the current financial year. That’s why MEC had to set the ball rolling,” he said.
However, the Commission is advising all aspiring contestants to collect nomination forms from the Ward Returning Officers. All aspiring candidates who already collected nomination forms are asked to keep them safely for the moment until further directions from the Commission.
The by-elections were supposed to take place in the following wards: Luchenza in Luchenza Municipal Council, Zomba Central in Zomba City Council, Msikisi in Mangochi Town Council, Chibanja in Mzuzu City Council and Khwawa in Karonga District Council.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :