The Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) has directed all district election coordinators (DECs) to revisit the polling staff lists following reports that some coordinators were flouting guidelines when coming up with the lists.
In a letter issued yesterday addressed to all DECs, MEC chief elections officer Sam Alfandika warns that the commission will not recognise or pay honoraria to all non-teachers who have been wrongly recruited as polling staff instead of deserving teachers.
Alfandika said the directive followed “numerous disturbing reports” on how the staff lists were arrived at contrary to the guidelines provided.
According to the set guidelines outlined in the statement, all presiding officers (POs) should be head teachers of primary schools that are polling stations, assistant presiding officers (APOs) should be deputy head teachers of those schools and if there are more streams calling for more than one APO, the rest of the APOs should be identified from among the teachers within the same school in order of seniority.
Reads the statement in part: “Where a polling station falls within a public institution, the officer-in-charge of the said station should be the PO and the second in command APO, here too the polling clerks should be drawn from the same station or nearest public school or institution if there is a shortfall.”
Alfandika has since given DECs three days to correct all situations where instructions were not followed in the recruitment drive.
In a related development, over 30 teachers from Nchalo Zone in Chikwawa on Monday stormed the district commissioner’s (DC) office accusing election coordinators of favouritism in recruitment of polling staff.
Chikwawa DC Lusizi Nhlane said the office of the DEM has since instructed primary education advisers to rework the lists and make sure that only resident teachers for particular primary schools serving as polling stations, are on the list as per instructions.