National Tally Centre

BLANTYRE-(MaraviPost)—Malawians will tomorrow choose a leader of their choice in the country’s first ever court-sanctioned fresh presidential election despite a shortfall of K10 billion at the Malawi Electoral Commission.

Speaking during a media briefing Malawi at the National Tally Centre in Blantyre, MEC chairperson Justice Chifundo Kachale said the electoral body is still awaiting disbursement of the K10 billion to ensure smooth operations and achieve a free, fair and credible election.

Kachale, a judge of the High Court of Malawi, warned that failure to release the money to MEC would have legal consequences.

“The K10 billion deficit needs to be cleared. The money was budgeted for. This is not a private affair. It is something to do with the public.

“We need the money urgently and we will be engaging the relevant authorities so that they should honour their commitment of releasing the money to us,” said Kachale.

In February, Parliament allocated K29 billion for the poll in the Mid-Year Budget Review but MEC has only received K19 billion and K10 billon was released last Friday after MEC exerted more pressure on treasury and parliament.

On transportation, Kachale  said transport issue has been sorted out and all the required 336 trucks are in place.

He said the hired trucks were inspected by the Plant and Vehicle Hire Organisation (PVHO) which certified them to be fit to be used.

Besides the trucks delivering materials such as ballot papers, Kachale said an additional 60 vehicles are being used on training polling staff and publicity of messages.

On ballot papers which arrived through Kamuzu International Airport  in Lilongwe on Friday, he said that as of yesterday they had been dispatched to the country’s 193 parliamentary constituencies.

Kachale also observed that there are some quarters who are distorting voter information especially on polling day. He condemned the conduct in strongest terms and warned that if caught they will dealt with according to the law.

He said: “As MEC, we remain nonpartisan and we are concerned with individuals who are manipulating our voter information for their own campaign purposes. Let me say that those who will be found will be dealt with according to law.”

Meanwhile, pre-inspection of voter materials is expected to take place today from 8am in all polling stations across all the polling centres where political party representatives are expected to be present.

Kachale said the exercise will proceed even if political party representatives will be late and emphasised that “presiding officers have other things to do”.

The tomorrow’s election follows nullification of the May 21 2019 presidential election by a five-judge panel of the High Court of Malawi sitting as the Constitutional Court on February 3.

The court ordered that a fresh election be held within 150 days and directed that the status in the presidency—President and Vice-President—revert to the May 2014 Tripartite Elections outcome.

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