Malawi Government says it wants Local Government Elections to be held before 2014 if the process of clearing the legal challenges created by the previous administration can be completed in time.

Leader of the House Henry Phoya said in an exclusive interview on Thursday that President Joyce Banda’s People’s Party (PP) views the role of councillors as crucial in the development of the country.

Phoya claimed that the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) government mishandled the legal provisions for the holding of the local polls because of frequent amendments since 2010.

“If it were possible, the view of the government is that we should have the Local Government Elections before 2014, but if the same is not going to be possible, then we are definitely supportive of the idea of having Local Government Elections together with the usual Parliamentary and Presidential Elections which are due in 2014,” he said.

The government position comes amid concerns from various stakeholders over the delays to amend the Constitution to make a provision for the tripartite elections in 2014.

Malawi Congress Party (MCP) deputy publicity secretary Jolly Kalero last week said the country should not only hold elections for the councillors, but also review their remuneration to be in tandem with their work and current economic situation.

DPP publicity secretary Nicholas Dausi said the party has always wanted to have councillors in place and that it supports the idea of tripartite elections which are scheduled to take place in May 2014.

Pan African Civic Educators Network (Pacenet) executive director Steven Duwa expressed worry that as the talk for tripartite elections gathers momentum, the law was not yet put in place to regulate the holding of local government polls together with parliamentary and presidential elections.

Traditional donors of the Electoral Commission have demanded another audit of the institution before they can start pumping money into preparations for the 2014 tripartite election.

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