The Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) has stood its ground on the K30 million it owes about 3 000 police officers in unpaid allowances for security services rendered during the May 20 2014 elections, emphasising payment was made.
MEC found itself in such an awkward situation following its decision to make an upfront payment to police officers who did not show up on polling day.
In an e-mailed response to a questionnaire, MEC director of media and public relations Sangwani Mwafulirwa said it is up to the Malawi Police Services (MPS) to take action on the concerned officers, depending on the reasons why they did not show up.
“The status remains that MEC paid the money to police officers, but on the polling day, police assigned different officers. The money paid should be deducted from those officers who received and be paid to those who worked,” he said.
However, Mwafulirwa said MEC is hopeful that its collaborative work with MPS will continue to thrive even for the 2019 elections as it still maintains its trust in them and have worked well with them in all the by-elections held after May 2014.
Efforts to get a comment from MPS national spokesperson James Kadadzera proved futile as he did not pick our calls despite several attempts.
MEC engaged 9 750 police officers to provide security in all polling stations, but nearly half of them are yet to get their outstanding allowances.
Each police officer was supposed to get K20 000 as allowance. However, some got the whole amount, others were either paid half or did not receive anything.
Since 2014, the commission has been struggling to pay several debtors who provided different services during the polls and some of them took the commission to court for failing to pay them.
In December 2015, former MEC chief elections officer Willie Kalonga expressed concern that allowances paid to MPS and Malawi Defence Force officers were overburdening the commission and asked government to ban them from receiving the allowances as payment for the job they are employed to do. n