There was pandemonium at Lilongwe District Council offices on Thursday morning when scores of Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) presiding officers protested a cut in airtime allowances.
Initially, the presiding officers were expected to receive K5, 000 airtime allowances but were shocked to hear that the allowance had been slashed to K1, 500.
This did not go down well with the presiding officers who rejected the reduced allowances.
One of the presiding officers, Linda Kamwachale said Thursday that Mec had made it clear in their contracts that they would get an allowance of K35, 000 per day for six days, adding that they would also get K5, 000 for airtime.
“We already got allowances for three days and today we came to get our balance for the remaining three days amounting to K105, 000 and the K5, 000 telephone allowances.
“However, we were shocked to hear that our airtime allowance had been slashed to K1, 500. This did not get down well with us and we protested. After some time, we were told that we would get the K5, 000 airtime allowances as per our contract agreement,” Kamwachale said.
Another presiding officer, Yotam Iphani, wondered where the accounts officials got the extra resources.
“Initially, they told us there was no money. But two hours later, they started giving us the money. They must explain to us where they got the additional resources.
“Presiding officers also had problems in getting allowances during training. The amount that we were getting as transport allowance varied from individual to individual,” Iphani said.
Mec Director of Media and Communication, Sangwani Mwafulirwa, was not immediately available for comment.