The budget for fresh presidential elections has been pegged at K43 billion, the embattled Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) chairperson has stated in a proposed calendar of the electoral process.
The Constitutional Court (ConCourt) judgement last week nullified the May 21 2019 presidential election and ordered fresh election within 150 days of the ruling on February 3 2020.
In a sworn statement for the stay of the ConCourt ruling, MEC chairperson Ansah argues that it is not feasible to hold fresh elections in 150 days’ time and proposes that the exercise be carried out on October 28 this year.
Among others, the electoral body cites funding constraints and transport challenges that the body experienced during the May 21 2019 elections, saying they are likely to haunt the commission again.
MEC put the budget for the fresh elections at K43 billion and needs to be funded from Treasury and a budget approval from Parliament. Malawi government injected K44 billion in last year’s Tripartite Elections.
“As a commission, we are of the view that the election can only be held within at least 261 days on October 28 2020 if we prepare on an expedited calendar,” reads Ansah’s submission.
MEC, according to its chairwoman, requires a minimum of 25 days to procure and deliver voter registration and polling materials.
Ansah has proposed 78 days for registration of voters to be split in six phases of 14 days each and five days of production of voters roll.
She says the electoral body would need 118 days for civic and voter education mobilisation and further indicates 26 days would be required to distribute civic education materials and inspect voter registers.
Ansah has set two days for receipt if nomination papers and one day for MEC to assess the candidates’ submission.
The ConCourt ruling established that the voting process had been marred by serious irregularities. The electoral commission had also failed to address complaints before announcing results. Tally sheets lacked monitor signatures, and several accepted tally sheets had been corrected using Tipp-Ex.
Equally important, it established that parliament should move to properly enact section 80(2) of the constitution, effectively changing the Malawian electoral system.
That means a president will need a 50+1 majority of votes. Simply winning more votes than your competitors will no longer be enough.
Throughout Malawi’s last parliamentary term, the governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) actively tried to frustrate any attempts at such fundamental electoral reform.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :