Malawi Electoral Commission closes head office
The Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) has closed its head office in Blantyre for 10 days after 23 of its members of staff tested positive for Covid.
Mec Chief Elections Officer Sam Alfandika said the closure was meant to prevent the further spread of coronavirus among staff members.
“Take notice that, in view of this development, all staff will be working from home during this period.
“Mandatory Covid tests will be arranged on February 3 and 4 2021 to enable all staff to check their status before returning to work on February 8 2021,” reads part of the press release which Alfandika has signed.
The commission, however, states that regional and district offices across the country would remain open for normal business activities.
Mec Director of Communication Sangwani Mwafulirwa said there had been an increase in the number of Covid cases among staff at the office, hence the decision.
“Meanwhile, the commission has put measures in place to ensure that all our stakeholders are served accordingly.
“Staff will be working from home, and should anyone have business to do with the Malawi Electoral Commission, they are free to contact the numbers that are provided and they will be helped accordingly,” Mwafulirwa said.
He added that there was one constituency and some wards that had fallen vacant and, as such, there was a need to conduct by-elections.
Mwafulirwa, however, said despite the elections being important, there was a need to consider the situation the country is in, in terms of the pandemic.
He said Mec appreciated the legal requirement that these areas should have representation in Parliament and at Local Government level.
“So, at an appropriate time, the commission is going to advise the nation on how we proceed in conducting by-elections in these areas,” he said.
Malawi has been recording an increased number of Covid cases, which are announced every 24 hours.
Mathews Kasanda is a journalist who holds a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from University of Malawi (The Polytechnic).
In 2015, Media Institute of Southern Africa awarded him the Best Print Media Education Journalist of the Year accolade.
He joined Times Group Newsroom in September 2019.