Pollster Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) has slashed nomination fees for women, the youth and people with disability after an uproar led by United Democratic Front (UDF) over the hike which analysts said could have prevented the affected groups from participating in the 2019 election.
MEC spokesperson Sangwani Mwafulirwa said the youth, under the age of 35 will now pay K375,000 down from K500,000 whilst women and those with disability will pay K250, 000 down from K500, 000.
“These people are economically and financially marginalized so this decision was arrived at to help them so that they participate fully should they want to be candidates,” said Mwafulirwa.
The MEC spokesperson however said the categories that have the nomination fees slashed are the parliamentary and local government elections, saying those vying for the presidency will still pay K2 million.
But George Phiri, a political and social commentator at the University of Livingstonia said it does not make sense to have the women pay more nomination fees than the youth.
Phiri said most women are well to do financially than the youth.
Some male politicians have said the nomination fees are just too high for ordinary people.
Reacting to the announcement, Team Leader for Youth-Decide-2019 Campaign (YD-2019) Charles Kajoloweka described the development as good adding that his Network would continue to engage MEC to further reduce the fees for youths.
“ It is a good development, a good start. But we will further engage MEC. Our proposal has been that the rate should be reduced to 50% due to the fact that the economic marginalization of youth and people with disabilities is not different from that of women,” said Kajoloweka.
The newly introduced youth nomination fees come at a time when a consortium of three NGOs; Youth and Society (YAS), Network for Youth Development (NfYD) , and Youth Politicians Union engaged MEC to reduce the nomination fees to enable more youth to run in the 2019 Tripartite Elections through the YD-2019 Campaign.
The YD-2019 is a nationwide Campaign aimed at mobilizing and empowering Malawian youth to actively participate in the 2019 Tripartite Elections and to promote good governance by youth after 2019.
MEC will receive the nomination papers and fees from February 4 to 8, 2019. –Additional reporting by Patricia Mtungila, MEC.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :