By Yohane Symon:
Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) has raised over K600 million from presidential and parliamentary candidate nomination fees.
The figure is, however, likely to rise when Mec concludes tabulation of Local Government candidates who paid K40,000 and K20,000 each for male and female candidates, respectively.
For the parliamentary race, male candidates paid K500,000 and half the amount for females.
According to the approved list of candidates released by Mec, 1,027 men will contest in the country’s 193 parliamentary seats, translating to K513, 500,000 of nomination fees.
Additionally, Mec has approved 304 female parliamentary candidates, translating to K76 million in nomination fees.
Mec has raised K18 million from nine presidential candidates who paid K2 million each.
However, some candidates with disability as well as youth below the age of 35 years paid the nomination fee at a reduced fee.
Mec publicist, Sangwani Mwafulirwa, Monday said they are yet to finalise tabulation of the list of Local Government candidates to establish how much they have realised.
Mwafulirwa said Treasury Department is likely to advise Mec on what to do with the money realised from the electoral process after the May 21 Tripartite Elections.
“As communicated before, the commission does not use nomination funds to finance elections. Funds for elections come from [the] government and development partners. As a commission, we do not touch the nomination fees. This money goes into consolidated funds and Treasury decides what to do with the money,” Mwafulirwa said.
Mec came under fire from some electoral stakeholders when it announced that the nomination fees for the forthcoming elections would be non-refundable as opposed to previous elections.
The stakeholders felt the fees were exorbitant and prohibitive to some Malawians who wanted to participate in the elections.
But Mwafulirwa defended Mec’s decision, saying the commission is mandated by law to set conditions for nomination fees.
He said, before setting the fees, Mec engaged secretaries general of all political parties about the commission’s idea of making the fees non-refundable.
However, United Democratic Front secretary general Kandi Padambo and social and political commentator Rafiq Hajat insisted that Mec’s decision to make the fees non-refundable was bad for democracy.
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