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UNDP concerned with Mec debts

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United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) says loss of equipment towards settling debts at the Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) is a grave concern and cannot only undermine development partners’ confidence in providing equipment in future but the electoral body’s capacity to deliver on its mandate.

UNDP is one of the major organisations that support some activities at Mec and is currently funding the electoral reform process.

Reacting to sheriffs’ auctioning of six vehicles belonging to the electoral body and overall state of outstanding debts at Mec, UNDP Resident Representative, Mia Seppo, said the outstanding debts also erode Mec’s credibility with suppliers.

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The vehicles that were put on the market due to Mec’s failure to settle about K90 million to three separate suppliers include two Nissan Patrols, a Nissan Caravan Minibus and three Nissan UD vans that UNDP donated to the electoral body.

“The suppliers of electoral materials are limited, and as has happened in some countries, they may refuse to do business with the Commission or demand up-front payments in the future, which will increase financial challenges,” Seppo said.

Sh e said Me c ’s financial autonomy is closely tied to its ability to operate independently.

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“The National Taskforce on Election Reform highlighted the need for government and Parliament to consider mechanisms to ensure reliable and timely funding is allocated and provided to the Mec. This is an issue which UNDP hopes that the Law Commission gives emphasis to in its ongoing Special Law Commission for Electoral Reforms,” she said.

Seppo said in the meantime, UNDP encourages government and Mec to work closely to clear the debts as soon as possible.

“Otherwise, it places in jeopardy the ability of Mec to conduct by-elections, implement reform processes and to build its capacity to deliver credible and genuine elections in 2019,” Seppo said.

Mec spokesperson Sangwani Mwafulirwa told The Daily Times last week that when the vehicles were impounded, the electoral

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