Malawi Police refuse to monitor voter registration over allowance wrangle

A group of about 200 Malawi police officers from Southern region who were expected to leave  for various voter registration centres on Friday to beef-up security has categorically refused to depart due to disagreement over allowances that erupted at Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) head offices in the commercial Capital Blantyre.

Police sources told Nyasa Times that the law enforcers who were expected to leave for Mwanza, Neno, and Chikwawa and Nsanje districts where the first phase of new voter registration exercise for 2014  tripartite elections is expected to begin on July 22, changed their mind after they learned that their 14-day allowance has been reduced to only K50, 000 from the previously arranged figure of K140, 000.

The sources are describing the reduction as unfair because allowances of camera men, monitors (supervisors) and drivers remain unreduced as they will be receiving an allowance of K10, 000 per for a period of 14 days.

“We first confronted our bosses at the regional office but they told us that the issue can best be explained by MEC officials who have hired us.  So all of us went back to MEC offices where officials in the police human resources department were locked up in a meeting with MEC officials until sunset. And until now we haven’t gotten the outcome of the meeting,” said one of the sources Friday night.

The sources also described the K50, 000 allowances for two weeks as a mockery to police officers saying per government scale their two-week allowances are pegged at K84, 000 which is K42, 000 per week.

In an interview with Nyasa Times Friday night Southern region police spokesperson Nicholas Gondwa confirmed of K50,000 two-week allowance given to the police officers saying there is no need for the officers to complain because this is different from night allowances.

“It is true that the police officers get K84, 000 per two weeks on government scale, but this is different from K50, 000 which MEC has arranged for them because it is just an honorarium not night allowance,” said Gondwa.

Gondwa: i am not aware of differences
Gondwa: i am not aware of differences

Gondwa disputed claims that the trip has failed because of the disagreement over the reduced allowances.

“I am not aware that there were disagreements over allowances between the police officers and MEC officials. But what I know is that the police officers have failed to leave today because they refuelled their vehicles very late so we thought it was not good for them to travel at night since of the areas are hilly,” said Gondwe stressing  that the police officers will leave Blantyre Saturday morning.

But the police sources counter-argued Gondwa saying he is only mean with the truth saying he is fully aware of the disagreement over allowance. They also argue that his argument on honorarium is baseless because he is fully aware that the honorariums are not meant for outside assignments.

“Honorariums are given when we carry out duties in the same community, same location, and within the same working hours like escorting the prisoners to the courts. Here we are given anything every as little as K500. We don’t reject this. But this MEC assignment is outside our locations and will be staying away from our families.”

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