The Malawi Government has said there is nothing sinister in placing the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) in the armpits of Vice-President Khumbo Kachali.

“MEC will still be independent, nobody will interfere,” said Information Minister Moses Kunkuyu.

In making her first cabinet reshuffle since assuming office in April, President Joyce Banda removed Kachali as Minister of Health but, among other departments, she placed MEC under his office. This drew fire from commentators who feared for the independence of the elections body.

But Kunkuyu, who is government spokesman, defended the move, saying President Banda has put MEC under the vice-president office for smooth operations of the 2014 tripartite elections.

“That position is to make sure that we have a smooth running of the tripartite elections,” he said. “We want to have a contact point between MEC and government. We don’t want a situation where MEC will have no transport because there is no contact point.”

Kunkuyu insisted that since Malawi will be holding tripartite elections for the first time there is need for constant touch between MEC and government.

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