The Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) has planned to hold by-elections on June 23 in the five wards which have fallen vacant due to deaths of councilor’s depite not receiving committment on a K403 million budget submitted to Treasury.
The five wards, which became vacant after the May 20 Tripartite Elections, include the ward of former Zomba City mayor, the late Joana Ntaja.
In a letter sent to the secretary general of Democractic Progressive Party (DPP) which The Nation has seen, the commission has invited concerned political parties to launch meetings that will take place on April 30 in all the five wards where the by-elections will take place.
“During the launch, commissioners from MEC will release the electoral calendar for the by-elections and also answer any questions which stakeholders might have regarding conduct of the by-elections which will be held on June 23 2015,” reads part of the letter to the parties.
MEC spokesperson Sangwani Mwafulirwa said in an interview the dates could not be confirmed, but said the commission was busy with preliminary preparations for the by-elections awaiting the launch whose date will be announced once the commission endorses the electoral calendar.
Said Mwafulirwa: “There is high-level commitment from the Ministry of Finance to provide the funding within the current financial year and that is why we have started in-house preparations so that we hold the by-elections before the end of June this year.”
Asked when Ministry of Finance would provide funding, spokesperson Nations Msowoya said there was no record of the request for funding from Mec.
The five wards where the by-elections are expected to take place are Msikisi in Mangochi, Khwawa in Karonga, Chibanja in Mzuzu, Luchenza in Luchenza and Zomba Central Ward in Zomba City.