18 July 2018

Malawi: MEC to Consider Slashing Nomination Fees for Youth Candidates

Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) had said it will consider slashing, by half, nomination fees for people with disabilities and youth aspirants in next year's tripartite elections the same affirmative action it has applied on women.

The electoral body made the consideration Tuesday during a national elections consultative meeting with its stakeholders in Lilongwe.

MEC chairperson Justice Jane Ansah said the call was "pertinent" and that the Commission would look into it and try to consider it.

"We will definitely sit down and make some considerations," she said.

United Democratic Front (UDF) has spoken stringly in support of slashing fees for youth aspirants like it is the case with women, while YouthDecide2019, a team of activists that has been fighting for the cause, said it was glad that MEC had finally considered the group.

Charles Kajoloweka, YouthDecide2019 team leader, said it was unfortunate that all along the youth and less privileged people have been left out to participate in the elections because of their failure to pay nomination fees.

"But we are encouraged that MEC has seen it important that they should consider the groups we have been advocating for," said Kajoloweka.

The Youth and Society (YAS) executive director said if considered, more youths are expected to contest for both parliamentary and ward councilor positions.

"Our consultative meetings with most of the youths in the country have indicated that most of them are willing to vie for various positions. And if what we are asking for is considered, it will be a rosy story," he said.

The current fees for a parliamentary seat is K500 000 which YouthDecide2019 wants halved like female candidates at K250 000.

Male candidates for the position of local government Councillor will pay K40 000 while the fee for females has been pegged at K20 000.

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