Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) is said to be on the verge of refunding nomination fees to atleast 131 parliamentary contestants who got over five percent of the total valid vote count during the May 20 tripartite polls.

According MEC’s Chief Elections Officer Willie Kalonga said according to electoral laws, nomination fees for Parliamentary and Presidential Elections are refundable when the candidate gets 5 percent or more of the valid vote count.

“Nomination fees for Local Government Elections are not refundable according to electoral laws,” said Kalonga.

According to MEC statistics, only four of the 11 presidential candidates during the May 20 elections managed to amass over five percent of the national vote and all have already been refunded their nomination fees.

But legal commentator Justin Dzonzi is quoted in the media questioning the logic behind payment of nominations fees, which he argued bars some people from contesting in an election.

“By requiring candidates to pay nomination fee, the electoral laws prevent poor people from running for a political office. You will recall that during the last elections, very few political parties fielded candidates in all constituencies and wards on the grounds that they could not afford the nomination fees.

“Nomination fees discourage other people from taking part in politically elected offices. I would have been happier if candidates were being required to pay for part of the cost of the elections directly attributable to their candidacy such as the printing of ballot papers etc. But this is not the principle in Malawi at the moment,” said Justin Dzonzi as quoted in the media.

Mec pegged K1million nomination fee for presidential aspirants regardless of gender while male candidates who contested for parliamentary seat paid K200, 000. Their female counterparts paid K150, 000.

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ZIMENE MUMAKONDA

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