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Malawi electoral body pens President Mutharika to hire new commissioners

Sam Alufandika

Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) Chief Elections Officers Sam Alufandika

MEC chief elections officer (CEO) Sam Alfandika

BLANTYRE-(MaraviPost)-As the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) is preparing for fresh presidential election slated for July 2 this year, the electoral has written President Peter Mutharika to consider hiring new commissioners as the current commissioners’ term is coming to an end on June 5, 2020.

MEC chief elections officer (CEO) Sam Alfandika disclosed on Wednesday, April 1, 2020 when the electoral body appeared before the Legal Affairs Committee of Parliament to update it on the commission’s state of preparedness to conduct the forthcoming fresh presidential election.

 “This means the members will only have participated in part of the electoral process and then stop along the way. The new ones that would be appointed with effect from 6th June 2020 may have very little time to understand the process to complete the election. So, we wrote the President last week on this issue,” said Alufandika as quoted by The Nation.

The request comes barely three weeks after Mutharika refused to fire the commissioners as recommended by Parliament.

Legal Affairs Committee chairperson Kezzie Msukwa has since commended MEC for the move.

“We hope the President acts swiftly as there is not much time before the fresh election,” he said.

Malawians, led by the Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC), have been demonstrating across the country in a bid to force the electoral body’s chairperson Jane Ansah and her team to step down on grounds that they mismanaged the May 21, 2019 elections.

Upon expiry of their contracts, the MEC Commissioners will take home about MK2.8 million in gratuity and a top-of-the-range Toyota Landcruiser VX they will buy at 90 percent less the cost price, Maravi Post has established.

According to the March 2015 revised Conditions of Service for MEC Commissioner, they were entitled to gratuity at the end of the term. The gratuity is pegged at 15 percent of the total earnings of honoraria for the tenure of office.

The conditions of service show that MEC commissioners were entitled MK400 000 monthly honoraria while the chairperson drew MK550 000 per month.

The total earning for each commissioner at the end of the term in June 2020 would be MK19.2 million and 15 percent of the accrued amount would be K2 880 000. The MEC chairperson would walk away with MK3 960 000.

The commissioners are expected to pay 10 percent for Toyota Landcruiser vehicles bought for them in 2016.

According to the conditions of service, the commissioners were also entitled to MK10 million loans to buy one duty-free motor vehicle for personal use. The loan was to be deducted within the four-year period.

The chairperson and commissioners also get MK15 000 and MK10 000 sitting allowances, respectively, telephone and internet allowances of MK20 000 and MK15 000 for the chairperson and commissioners, respectively, and US$250 and US$200 for chairperson and commissioners.

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