Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) says temporary staff including presiding officers and drivers will be required to present evidence of Covid-19 vaccination before they are hired.
The commission has said this in a statement dated 11 August and signed by acting chief elections officer Harris Potani.
He said the requirement for Covid-19 vaccination will apply to temporary or seconded staff who will be engaged by the Commission ahead of the by-elections and review of constituency and ward boundaries exercise.
According to Potani, vaccination is one of the Covid-19 mitigation measures put in place by the Commission considering that there will be movement of staff from place to place.
“All staff and various officials engaged by the Commission will be required to present evidence of taking Covid-19 vaccination at the time of engagement.
“The Commission is assuring all stakeholders that it is committed to fulfill its obligation of creating a safe electoral and working environment.
“The Commission is reiterating that it has not forced anyone to get vaccinated and is not pursuing that line since vaccination is not compulsory in Malawi. However, considering the benefits of vaccination, the commission is encouraging all employees and stakeholders, that are medically eligible, to get the vaccines as they are available now,”” reads part of the statement.
MEC hires various people to work on temporary basis as Presiding Officers, Registration Officers, Polling Stations Operations Officers, Stringers, Constituency Civic and Voter Education Assistants (CCVEAs), Warehouse Assistants, Constituency and Ward Returning Officers, Retuning Officers and Polling clerks.
It also engages drivers from various government departments and agencies, Malawi Police officers and accounts and auditors seconded from government departments and agencies.
Earlier this month, MEC announced that employees who are yet to get vaccinated will not be allowed to physically go to office but will be working from home.
The commission came under fire over the directive as critics said MEC was forcing people to get vaccinated even though vaccination is voluntary.