Blantyre — President Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika has challenged the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) to be prudent with the way it manages its finances in preparation for the 2019 tripartite elections.
Mutharika was speaking on Tuesday at Sanjika Place in Blantyre during the demonstration of the electronic biometric voter registration system using the national identity cards by the commission.
"This is the first time in history to fund our elections without any support from our development partners and I am proud about that. It is my appeal to the commission to use the funding prudently," Mutharika advised.
"This is a sacred national duty and I have confidence that you will perform to the best of your capabilities," added Mutharika.
The president, therefore, called on Malawians to take the electoral activities as outlined by MEC in its calendar seriously as they decide whether to take the nation forward or backwards.
"All Malawians should take the elections seriously, by among other things, taking note of the programmes that will be announced from time to time. Above everything else, every eligible Malawian should register," he said.
Mutharika also encouraged the commission to stick to its principles on fairness, independence and objectivity because failing to do that would plunge the country in a crisis.
"Social is greatly degrading the morality of the country. Religious leaders in particular have the duty to pray for the nation and implore on its members to guard against any conduct which may not be in line with norms of values of Malawian culture," he emphasised.
MEC's Chairperson Justice Dr. Jane Ansah assured the president and Malawians that the commission will be prudent enough in using our allocated resources.
"It is indeed important for us to be prudent with the finances. What happened before was that most of the transactions were being done manually and to account for billions, it was quite very difficult.
"We are now using the Integrated Financial Management System (IFMS) and all our transactions are transparent even at the ministry they know what is happening with our account and we are doing our best to use the money prudently," Ansah said.
On those people who have not yet registered with the National Registration Bureau (NRB), Ansah said the commission is engaging with the Bureau to be in strategic places during the phases of the registration of voters so that those people who did not register get the chance to do so.
Meanwhile, the MEC chief said that voter registration using the new electronic biometric voter system will commence on June 26 to October 04, 2018.