The Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) has indicated that depending on the availability of resources it may deploy more stringers across the country to meet the demand of coverage for aspiring candidates in the 2014 tripartite elections.
MEC recruited 76 Stringers in the 2009 general elections to cover the electoral process that many stakeholders including the international organizations described as the most successful.
This time around MEC has reduced the number to 40.
The slump, which translate that each constituency depending on its vastness may have two or one Reporters, has worried some Stringers after Commissioner Dr. Bertha Simwaka in her official opening speech during the reporters’ training at the Capital City Motel in Lilongwe on Wednesday warned that stringers not doing enough or found lazy may face disciplinary actions.
Precious Msosa, one of the stringers said the trimming of stringers was worrying not only to stakeholders but to some stringers who might be innocently punished for not doing the job well as they will work under pressure and fatigue covering many aspirants.
Msosa noted that there is a belief that the media is a key stakeholder in the success of the elections as it exposes areas of need.
However, MEC Public Relations Officer Sangwani Mwafulirwa said depending on the availability of funds, the electoral body may double the figure of stringers to enhance quality.
“The problem we have is that we don’t have enough funding but should we have extra resources before campaign period, the MEC is likely to recruit more stringers,” Mwafulirwa said.
Mwafulirwa, however, urged the few deployed stringers to do their job well by reaching out to the constituencies and reporting fairly as they wait for additional ones.—MEC stringer