Government has finally released funding for Malawi Electora Commission (MEC) to conduct parliamentary by-elections in Mchinji West Constituency and local government in four wards.
MEC has said after receiving the funding, all is set for the by-elections.
Jean Mathanga, MEC chairperson for Electoral Services Committee, said the pollsters were “happy” that government has funded them for the exercise and that they are now “capacitated” to hold the by-elections “as part of fulfilment as out manadate as a commission.”
She clarifies that the by-elections will cost K499 million and not K1 billion as it was earlier reported.
Initially, the by-elections were slated for October 4 this year, but MEC announced that they had postponed the polls due to lack of funding.
MEC has in recent months been hit with funding woes, with Treasury saying it will not immediately move in to clear the debts which the electoral body owes its local and foreign creditors after reports for alleged abuse of public funds by its officials.
The electoral body recently sent seven of its staff, including chief elections officer Willie Kalonga, on forced leave to pave the way for audit investigations.
This led to Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development Minister Goodall Gondwe withholding about K500 million meant for by-elections in five constituencies.
The decision led to the electoral body officially announcing the cancellation of its by-elections, citing the alleged financial mismanagement amounting to K15 million as the major cause.
Government appointed a three-member team comprising Kamphasa, retired Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal judge Duncan Tambala and AMG Global managing partner Rex Harawa to investigate the allegations.