By: Vincent Gunde
The Malawi Electoral Commission ( Mec), has said it will not recognise or pay honoraria to non teachers who have been wrongly recruited as polling staff in place of deserving teachers to man polling centres across the country on Tuesday 21 May, 2019 tripartite elections.
This is contained in a statement signed by the Commission’s Chief Elections Officer, Sammy Alfandika dated 12th May,2019 with a copy to the Secretary for Local Government and Rural Development.
Mec recently trained centre Presiding officers and Assistant Presiding officers who in turn will train the polling staff in their respective centres on 16th May while on 19th May, they will be present in their centre’s receiving polling materials in readiness for the tripartite elections on 21st May, 2019.
The alleged non teachers were trained for two days filling letters of their appointments and signed an Oath to the Commissioner for Oath with their bank account numbers on the forms.
The Electoral body has said it is committed to hold credible elections and this departure is a serious threat to the committment which will not be condoned.
Alfandika is advising all District Election Coordinators to revisit the polling staff lists in their respective areas of jurisdictions with a strong appeal to ensuring that the process is concluded within the next three days before polling staff is trained by using their structures to strictly follow the instructions or else, they will be responsible individually for any departure.
He said he has received numerous disturbing reports on how these staff lists were arrived at contrary to the guidelines provided which he gave out on the recruitment drive that all Presiding officers should be headteachers of schools which are centres with Assistant Presiding Officers be deputy headteachers or teachers basing on seniority while the shortfalls be met by the nearest school or government establishment.
Mec is therefore calling upon all to correct situations where instructions were not followed in the recruitment drive saying it already communicated to stakeholders about this recruitment process and any departure from this, will have serious perceptions and connotations.
Meanwhile, the Electoral body has released a list of 5,002 polling centres for the 2019 Presidential, Parliamentary and Local Government Elections to be held on Tuesday 21 May, 2019.
According to the list, Central Region has the lion’s share of centres with 2,024, Southern Region 1,871 while Northern Region has 1,107.
A total of 6.8 million people is reported to have been registered in readiness to vote for the tripartite elections with four presidential candidates.