Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) says it faces a shortage of 450 trucks for the distribution of election materials nationwide ahead of the May 21 2019 Tripartite Elections.
If not resolved, the problem threatens to negatively affect the distribution exercise scheduled to take place two weeks from now.
But Malawi Electoral Support Network (Mesn) chairperson Steve Duwa has played down the fears, saying there will be no challenge since the electoral body is making necessary arrangements to deal with the problem.
In a telephone interview yesterday, MEC commissioner Jean Mathanga said MEC requires 2 140 vehicles for the whole exercise. Out of the required vehicles, 600 are trucks needed for material distribution exercise, she said.
The commissioner said government has since provided 95 trucks, a development that means that the electoral body needs to hire the remaining trucks for the exercise that will take place two days before the actual polling day.
Mathanga, who chairs MEC’s electoral services committee, said there is need for the commission to outsource the remaining trucks from service providers with funding from the government and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
She said MEC has since placed an advert requesting transport service providers to make an expression of interest for supply of required vehicles meant for the crucial exercise.
However, both Mathanga and MEC chairperson Jane Ansah could not indicate how much it will cost, considering that the electoral body does not have a component in the elections budget.
In the May 20 2014 Tripartite Elections, transportation of materials was a challenge in some areas, leading to rescheduling of the voting period beyond the 6pm closing time.
There are about 5 000 polling centres across 193 constituencies where materials need to be distributed to, including hard-to-reach areas.