The blame game has started. Malawi Electoral Commission is distancing itself from the delayed payment to polling workers who are yet to receive their honoraria for work done during the May 2014 Tripartite Elections saying the responsibility of paying the workers relies on Development Partners.
The Commissions’ Chief Elections Officer Willie Kalonga says in a statement that according to the agreement that was reached between the Government of Malawi and the Development Partners all poll workers were to be paid by Development Partners from the donor basket fund that is managed by the UNDP.
“The MEC is not handling any donor money,” says Kalonga, adding: “The positions to be paid through this mechanism are the Constituency Returning Officers, District Election Coordinators, Presiding Officers, Assistant Presiding Officers, Polling Clerks, Marshalls, Quality Control Managers and Security Personnel (Malawi Defence Force and Malawi Police). In all, this translated to 89,656 poll workers.”
He says under this arrangement, Poll workers were required to submit their bank details and other bio-data to the Commission which checked against attendance registers as proof that they had provided the services.
“To date, the Commission has verified and submitted to UNDP for payment the details for over 81,000 staff that worked during the election. The information submitted to UNDP is then forwarded to the coordinating bank for payment through various banks. While most of the poll workers staff has received their payments, there are still others who are yet to receive their payments”.
Kalonga says the delay has largely been caused by wrong bank details that were submitted to the Commission by the Poll workers. Consequently, banks are unable to process payments to poll workers who submitted wrong details.
He says so far, the Commission had received more than 10,300 records from UNDP which have been returned by the banks. The details for these staff are being followed up by the Commission as soon as they are returned by the banks and are resubmitted once the corrections have been effected.
“On the other hand, the Commission is supposed to pay drivers and other temporary staff with funding from the Malawi Government. However, while the government is committed to releasing the funding, to date the Commission has not received any funding in the new financial year to pay the drivers, temporally staff and other creditors”.
The Commission is assuring the general public that it is doing everything possible to ensure that all people that worked during polling are paid and considers this issue its highest priority.
All poll workers are therefore asked to be patient and wait for further communication from the MEC and UNDP.