The Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) says the looting of public funds dubbed Cashgate at Capital Hill has not affected its operations in preparation for the 20 May Tripartite Elections.
MEC spokesperson Sangwani Mwafulirwa said this on Wednesday in Lilongwe during a two-day elections reporting workshop that ended yesterday.
Mwafulirwa said: “The activities of the electoral body [MEC] have not been affected by the looting of public funds, which others call Cashgate, from government coffers at Capital Hill. Therefore, there is no reason to worry that our operations towards elections will be affected.”
MEC’s disclosure comes at a time operations in many government-funded institutions have been paralysed because of looting of public funds.
According to Mwafulirwa, government contributes 60 percent to MEC on elections budget. The 40 percent of elections budget comes from donors through a basket fund which is coordinated by United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
Mwafulirwa also clarified why MEC chose to borrow gas lamps from Zimbabwe, among other countries, which could come to Malawi’s rescue on the same.
He said other countries also have polls this month.
“We could not borrow the gas lamps from South Africa or Tanzania. Because these countries have elections soon so, they said they could not assist us. Another country which has gas lamps is Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), but it is far for us to transport the gas lamps. Therefore, we borrowed from Zimbabwe because it is close,” said Mwafulirwa.
Mwafulirwa said Zimbabwe did not charge Malawi for the use of lamps.
Speaking at the workshop, MEC commissioner Reverend Emmanuel Chimkwita-Phiri urged journalists to be ethical in their reporting throughout the electoral process.
“This training will enable journalists, provide voters with factual information during the electoral process. It will also help them to adhere to media ethics so that we should have free and fair elections,” said Chimkwita-Phiri.