‘Malawi Electoral Commission may move to Capital Hill’
Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development, Goodall Gondwe, Thursday told Parliament that Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) head offices might move to Capital Hill in the next three years.
Goodall was responding to a concern by Member of Parliament (MP) for Lilongwe Msozi South, Vitus Dzoole- Mwale, who argued that it is taking too long for Mec head offices to move to the capital city as proposed by some quarters including his Malawi Congress Party (MCP).
The lawmaker brought out the issue as Parliament was scrutinising the K12.25 billion allocation to the electoral body in the 2017/18 National Budget.
Those pushing for the relocation of Mec head offices from Blantyre to Lilongwe argue that the electoral body can efficiently carry out its activities including conducting polls if it is centrally located.
Dzoole-Mwale described the relocation of Mec head offices to Lilongwe as a serious matter. He, however, did not elaborate why it is.
“When we met Mec officials [recently], I did ask the chairperson when the office would move to the capital city of this country and the answer was that they have no idea… We would like Mec to come to the capital city.
“I want to find out from the Minister of Finance whether [the relocation process] has been budgeted for to ensure that before the forthcoming general elections, this office comes to the capital city,” Dzoole-Mwale said.
In his response, Gondwe said while the relocation of Mec head offices from Blantyre to Lilongwe may not happen any time soon, buildings which will be constructed at Capital Hill may accommodate the electoral body.
“We want to put up, at Capital Hill, a large building for institutions that are not in Lilongwe like the National Statistical Office. Mec could also be one of those, but it will not be this year. We will start this year, but probably, we will finish in three years,” Gondwe said.
Meanwhile, the Finance Minister has disclosed that K1.2 billion has been allocated for by-elections. According to Gondwe, this is the amount which was proposed by Mec itself, even though some lawmakers are of the view that the funds are not enough.
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