The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Government has refused to release funding for by-elections that were expected to take place in Mchinji West constituency following investigations into financial abuses at the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC).
The by-elections were set to be held on October 4 this year following the death of Member of Parliament for the area Billy Kanjira Banda.
Government’s decision has come at a time when political parties have already chosen their candidates to stand during the elections. More significantly, the decision has been made after Malawi Congress Party was heavily tipped to reclaim the seat.
Malawi Electoral Commission spokesperson Sangwani Mwafulira confirmed to the local media that the organisation is yet to get funding for the by-elections.
Treasury spokesperson Nations Msowoya said government has withdrawn funding for the elections in order to pave way for investigations into reports of misappropriation of public funds at the Malawi Electoral Commission.
It is suspected that over K15 million was abused at the electoral body. Meanwhile commentators have blasted government for the move saying failure to hold the elections contravenes the country’s laws which gives all citizens the right to political representation, a right which people of Mchinji West are currently being denied.
Meanwhile, MEC has sent on leave with immediate effect seven of its staff members following reports of financial mismanagement at the commission.