The Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) has cancelled the proposed launch of activities lined up for the forthcoming by-elections. The launch meetings were scheduled to take place today in all the five wards.
Chief elections officer Willie Kalonga said in a statement yesterday that the cancellation has been necessitated by government’s delay to release funding for the polls.
But on Tuesday, Ministry of Finance spokesperson Nations Msowoya told The Nation there was no record of request for funding from MEC.
MEC, which had planned to hold the by-elections in wards which fell vacant due to deaths of councillors, on June 23, needs about K403 million from Treasury.
The five wards include Zomba Central of the late mayor, Joana Ntaja, Msikusi in Mangochi, Chibanja in Mzuzu, Luchenza in Luchenza (Thyolo) and Khwawa in Karonga.
However, Kalonga said other preparatory activities for the by-elections will continue as planned. These include the national launch which was announced on MBC Television (TV) by MEC chairperson Maxon Mbendera yesterday.
Said Kalonga: “The Commission sincerely apologises to all stakeholders for the inconvenience this might cause and is assuring them that it is doing everything possible to ensure that the by-elections slated for June 23 2015 are a success.”
MEC spokesperson Sangwani Mwafulirwa said during the launch meetings, MEC commissioners were scheduled to meet all stakeholders and explain in detail the calendar for the by-elections and also respond to queries.
Mwafulirwa said cancellation of the launch meetings in the wards did not translate to calling off the June 23 by-elections.