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No new vehicles for Mec commissioners

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Government has stuck to its earlier decision of not purchasing new vehicles for newly appointed Chairperson of the Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec), Justice Jane Ansah and the eight commissioners, Finance Minister Goodall Gondwe has reaffirmed.

The revelation comes after The Daily Times spotted Mzuzu-based Commissioner, Reverend Clifford Baloyi, walking on foot in the city on Wednesday afternoon.

When asked, Baloyi said they are yet to be served with official vehicles and further expressed ignorance as to when that will be done.

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“When needed elsewhere in my official capacity, I use a vehicle from the Mec regional office,” Baloyi said.

But Gondwe said in an interview yesterday that not even in the 2017/2018 budget would government afford the new vehicles.

“We do not have the money, we are not buying them vehicles not even next year. For now, they have to rely on pool vehicles because that is what we can afford,” he explained.

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Gondwe stressed that the absence of donors continue to put the government in a tight corner, and that it will continue to exercise restraint in terms of expenditure wherever need be.

While acknowledging the government’s position, acting Director of Communication at the Mec, Richard Mveriwa, reiterated that the commissioners are facing mobility challenges.

“The previous crop bought all the institutional vehicles which they were using during their term of office, so the new commissioners are usually forced to use their personal cars when needed to execute the commissions’ duties,” Mveriwa said.

Led by the late Maxon Mbendera, all the 10 commissioners were using Toyota Land Cruiser TX Prados, which were bought at K19 million on duty-free basis.

Upon exiting office, the commissioners went away with the top-of-the-range automobiles at a 10 percent value of K4.58 million in line with their conditions of service.

Article 4.2.2 of the revised terms and conditions of service for commissioners accords them the opportunity to purchase institutional vehicles allocated to them after five years of use or at the end of their contract.

However, the government and some stakeholders find the article problematic, arguing that it stands to strain the public purse.

The government needs about K858 million if it is to purchase Prados like the ones used by the previous commission which are now selling at about K78 million each.

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