Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Samuel Tembenu says Malawi has shown maturity by choosing to predominantly fund the 2019 Tripartite Elections.
In the 2018/19 National Budget passed on Friday, Treasury allocated K33.4 billion for the running of next year’s elections.
The budget for the elections is K55 billion and Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) chairperson Jane Ansah indicated that there is a deficit of about K7.5 billion after government committed to provide 85 percent of the budget.
The minister was responding to questions from members of Parliament (MPs) in Parliament on Friday before the House approved the provision of the K33 449 328 960 to the MEC vote.
The MPs who asked the questions included Wallace Chawawa (Zomba Chingale; People’s Party-PP) who expressed concern that during next year’s polls, the government seems to have lost the support of donors and cooperating partners.
But Tembenu said: “After 25 years of being in the multi-party democracy, I am sure that we should all be happy that we are growing out of donor dependency and that, for the first time, we shall be able to fund these elections ourselves.”
The minister also allayed fears by Lilongwe North East MP Maxwell Thyolera (Malawi Congress Party–MCP) that organisations accredited by MEC to carry out civic and voter education may be hampered if Treasury does not provide an extra K7.5 billion over and above the initial K2.9 billion initially allocated for this exercise.
But Thyolera in a follow-up question, wondered what Tembenu meant by saying the budget had already been done, or concluded, when, in fact, the MPs were in the process of casting the budget.
At this stage, First Deputy Speaker Esther Mcheka-Chilenje ruled Thyolera out of order..
Weighing in, Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development Goodall Gondwe reminded Thyolera that budget formulation is about the government taking into account opinions of stakeholders, thereby forcing changes in vote allocations.