Malawi elections to delay up to six weeks: Ballot papers in Friday

Malawi’s court-sanctioned fresh presidential elections slated for  Tuesday June 23 is set to delay up to six weeks due to logistical hiccups, Nyasa Times understands as  Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) will this Thursday  appraise Parliament on the state of preparedness and challenges it is facing.

MEC holding a National Elections Consultative Forum  meeting at Crossroads hotel in Lilongwe

MEC chairperson Justice Chifundo Kachale told the National Elections Consultative Forum  (Necof) in Lilongwe on Thursday the state of preparedness for the fresh presidential poll and highlighted the challenges .

Kachale said the Commission will get direction from Parliament on how the challenges can be resolved.

He said the Commission is yet to get K10 billion from Treasury to finance its operations for the forthcoming polls.

Kachale said the Commission met Treasury and Reserve Bank of Malawi officials on the matters and that the situation is not promising, which hints to further delays to the polling.

During presentation of the 2020/21 National Budget in Lilongwe last Friday, Minister of Finance Joseph Mwanamveka said donors are not forth-coming to support the elections budget.

Nyasa Times understands that to resolve all the bottlenecks so that a credible election is delivered , the Commission will need to postpone the June 23 polling for up to a maximum of six weeks.

Meanwhile, Kachale told Necof that  the batch of ballot papers printed in Dubai for the fresh presidential election are expected in the country on Friday  through Kamuzu International Airport (KIA) in Lilongwe.

He said 193 pallets of ballot papers will arrive monring  and political parties are, therefore, invited to send their monitors to witness the receipt and warehousing process of the ballot papers.

In terms of transport logistics, Kachale says there is a shortfall of 226 trucks.

He said the Malawi Defence Force ( MDF) is yet to confirm whether it will release three helicopters for airlifting materials to remote areas.

Kachale said the military will provide security in hot spots.

The MEC Chairperson also  officially announced that the College of Medicine in Blantyre will be the tally centre for the fresh presidential poll and that  only 10 political party representatives will be allowed at the national tally centre.

“Vote counting will begin manually immediately when voting at polling centre closes.

After counting the results, presiding officers will paste a copy of the results at the noticeboard and send a copy of it to the district tally centre,”  said Kachale.

MEC has also confirmed the three  presidential candidates and their running mates.

The presidential candidates include Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) president Peter Mutharika and his running mate Atupele Muluzi; Malawi Congress Party (MCP) presiden Lazarus Chakwera and his running mate Saulos Chilima as well as Mbakuwaku Movement for Development (MMD) president Peter Kuwani and his running mate Archibald Kalawang’oma.

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