The Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) has urged its commissioners and staff to apply knowledge acquired from various workshops to deliver credible, free, fair and cost-effective elections during the forthcoming by-elections slated for November 1.
MEC commissioner Mary Nkosi, who chairs the commission’s Internal Audit Committee, said this in Blantyre yesterday when she opened an orientation workshop for MEC commissioners and staff.
She said the training, aimed at drilling participants in Procurement Act 2003, Public Finance Management Act 2003 and the Public Audit Act 2003, was organised at an opportune time when the commission is new and trying to address issues surrounding alleged mismanagement of funds at the institution.
“Let me hasten to say that issues of transparency and accountability are extremely important and, as a commission, we must be beyond reproach. We must dedicate our energies and time towards improving management of our finances so that we achieve cost-effective elections, thereby building confidence in our electoral stakeholders,” said Nkosi.
Last week, government released funds for the electoral body to hold by-elections in Mchinji West Constituency and in four wards, namely Kaliyeka Ward in Lilongwe City South East; Sadzi Ward in Zomba Central; Bunda Ward in Kasungu Central and Bembeke Ward in Dedza South Constituency.
The vacancy in Mchinji West Constituency arose following the death of Burton Kanjira Banda on March 13 in 2016.
MEC chairperson for Electoral Services Committee Jean Mathanga speaking on Friday during the launch of the by-elections said the commission had initially planned to hold the polls on May 10 2016, but funding was not available. The development also coincided with the expiry of the previous commission’s term and the end of government financial year.
In Kaliyeka, Sadzi and Bunda wards, the vacancies also arose due to the deaths of councillors who were duly elected in 2014.
Commenting on Bembeke Ward, which fell vacant following the conviction of its councillor in a case bordering on moral turpitude and dishonesty, Mathanga registered concern on dishonesty by elected public officers.