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Government struggles to provide vehicles for by-elections

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Government is failing to provide the required number of vehicles for the November 1 slated by-elections in Mchinji West Constituency and in four wards in Zomba, Dedza, Lilongwe and Kasungu.

Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) requested 43 vehicles but government has supplied only 18 vehicles which are also said to be in bad state.

This is according to minutes of a meeting of donors and Malawi Government under Malawi Electoral Cycle Support Projects Steering Committee dated September 29 2016.

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The meeting was chaired by Finance Minister Goodall Gondwe and co-chaired by United Nations Resident Coordinator Mia Seppo.

Chairperson for the Mec Electoral Services Committee, Jean Mathanga, told the meeting that the electoral body had not yet received the required number of vehicles and if the matter is not responded to, the electoral body may be forced to ask for further funds.

“The Commissioner advised that it is concerned at the speed at which transport assets are being supplied by government to support the by-elections. She advised the meeting that the Mec requires 43 vehicles for the organisation of the upcoming by-elections. However, the Commissioner advised that to date, the Mec has only received 18 vehicles and noted that several of these are provided in a state that requires repairs,” the minutes reads.

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Mathanga told the meeting that Mec did not budget for repairs or the servicing of vehicles. She further told the meeting that member of the commission are presently using their personal vehicles to attend to duties.

In his response, Gondwe said it was critical to note that the prevailing economic situation has left government with a constrained resource envelop and many demands and that all government funded institutions are expected to produce results with minimal resources and Mec needed to find ways of maximising results with limited resources.

The by-elections launch took place on September 16 2016 and the official campaign period will be open from October 20 2016.

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