Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) chairperson Chifundo Kachale has not ruled out seeking extension of the fresh presidential election date because of logistical challenges ahead of the court sanctioned poll on June 23, saying they want to deliver a credible election.
Kachale said this during a new conference on Saturday in Lilongwe —the first one after being appointed on June 7 2020.
“Our wish is to approach everything professionally and we have trust in key stakeholders and also the people of Malawi,” said Kachale, the High Court Judge who has replaced Justice of Appeal Jane Ansah – who was accused of mismanaging the nullified 2019 presidential election..
“That is why on the challenges that we have found on the ground, we have taken an initiative to engage the candidates to let them know of the challenges,” he added.
He said MEC ordered 72,000 security seals padlocks which are yet to arrive into the country, 72, 000 plastic security seals which are not yet in the country, 15,000 polling booths which have not yet arrived and 12, 000 rubber bands which are yet to arrive.
Kachale also said the commission has not sent officials and other stakeholders to physically inspect the printing of ballot papers in Dubai due to coronavirus pandemic lockdown and travel restrictions.
He however said the printing of the ballot papers has started and he was upbeat the ballot papers would be in the country on June 19.
Kachale also said apart from facing a deficit of about K8 billion, delayed disbursement of funding is another challenge which is affecting some of the activities.
He cited, as an example, the training of presiding officers which was to start by June 8, but only commenced on Saturday as a case of the implication of delayed funding.
Kachale pleaded with Malawians to avoid suspicion and give the new commission, including two controversial commissioners—Jean Mathanga and Linda Kunje—who were in the old commission that was declared incompetent by both the court and the Public Appointments Committee (PAC), a benefit of doubt.