By Ireen Kayira
Lilongwe, June 14, Mana: Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) says it has a deficit of MK8.7 billion to cater for the expenses of the fresh presidential election whose total budget is K38.3 billion.
Government allocated K29.6 billion towards the election in the 2020/2021 fiscal year budget which is less than the amount that is needed for MEC to run the process.
Speaking during a press briefing in Lilongwe on Saturday, new MEC Chairperson Chifundo Kachale said at first they had a budget of K34 billion but government has allocated K29.6 billion.
“After phase four of registration, we needed to go back to places where we did not finish the registration, as such, this increased our budget.
“Our wish is to approach everything professionally and we have trust in key stakeholders and also the people of Malawi,” said Kachale.
“That is why on the challenges that we have found on the ground, we have taken an initiative to engage the candidates to let them know of the challenges,” he added.
He further said MEC will go back to government and partners who may have supported the elections before, for more funding.
“We do not want to assume that there is no one who can support us and indeed when there are constraints that affect our work, we will seek appropriate interventions,” Kachale said.
During the presentation of the 2020/2021 budget in parliament on Friday, Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Joseph Mwanamvekha said discussions with donors on the financing of the election have proved futile as most donors have expressed their inability to support the election.
“Notwithstanding the foregoing as well as the impact of COVID-19, Government is tirelessly looking for ways of mobilising the required resources,” said Mwanavekha.