Registration and inspection of voters’ roll for October 7 by-elections for Lifupa Ward in Kasungu West constituency was done without security personnel after the law enforcers refused to go to the centres over allowances.
The police officers who most of them worked during 2014 tripartite elections demanded an advance payment despite an assurance from Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) officials that they will be paid before the end of the exercise.
This was however after the district MEC office and District Elections Supervisory Team (DEST) had already finished all the arrangements of deploying registration personnel for the exercise that started Thursday, September 4, and end on Monday September 8.
Lifupa ward which has 16 registration centres was allocated two law enforcers every centre to protect registration materials and personnel besides keeping older during the period of the exercise but only two police officers managed to report at Ling’angwa.
According to Kasungu District Elections clerk Sydney Banda the officers refused to go to the registration and verification centres demanding an upfront of their allowances which could not have worked.
Banda said despite the police officers being assured that their money will be paid by the accounts department personnel who were on their way to the district and that they will paid in their respective centres they still refused to board the vehicles parked outside their officers.
“We had a meeting with them, and we allocate them in the centers but it was surprising that when we went to their office ready for deployment they all refused, it was so confusing that I had to liaise with District Elections Supervisory Team (DEST) and we continued deploying other personnel after we failed to understand our situation” said Banda.
However Banda said the exercise went on well despite the unavailability of the law enforces and all temporary registration staff have so far been sorted out their allowances in their respective centres.
MEC has recently said is working with UNDP to prepare the logistics for cash payments to be made directly in the Councils and has assured the general public that it is in the interest of the Commission to pay all the temporary staff as soon as possible for the services they rendered.
According to MEC Returning Officers shall receive nomination papers from prospective candidates on Tuesday, September 9, 2014 from 8AM to 4PM but those who were duly nominated in Blantyre North Constituency and the wards where the elections were postponed for various reason will just submit their letters of intent to contest before 4.00PM on September 9, 2014 to the Returning Officers.
By-elections will be held on October 7th in Thyolo East and Blantyre North Constituencies and in one constituency each in Lisanjala Ward in Machinga Likwenu, Kandeu Ward in Ntcheu North East, Lifupa Ward in Kasungu West, Mbalachanda Ward in Mzimba Central and Zgeba Ward in Karonga Nyungwe.