Malawi: MEC Pens Mutharika to Hire New Commissioners As Contracts Expire

MCP leader Lazarous Chakwera (in black) and UTM leader Saulos Chilima (in red) were also taking part in protests against last May election results (file photo).

Chief Elections Officer at the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC), Sam Alfandika, has written President Peter Mutharika to consider hiring new commissioners as the tenure of the current cohort expires on June 5 2020 while the chairperson Jane Ansah expires in October 2020.

Alfandika disclosed about writing Mutharika when he appeared before the Legal Affairs Committee of Parliament to update it on the commission's state of preparedness to conduct a fresh presidential election as ordered by the Constitution Court.

MEC scheduled July 2 2020 as the polling day.

Alfandika told the committee that MEC wrote President Mutharika last week, requesting him to appoint new commissioners.

"The new commissioners would have to be appointed with effect from 6th June 2020," said Alfandika.

He said the new commissioners "may have little time to understand the process to complete the election."

Commissioners will take home about K2.8 million in gratuity and a top-of-the-range Toyota Landcruiser VX they will buy at 90 percent less the cost price,

.According to their condition of service, the gratuity is pegged at 15 percent of the total earnings of honoraria for the tenure of office.

The conditions of service show that MEC commissioners were entitled K400 000 monthly honoraria while the chairperson drew K550 000 per month.

The total earning for each commissioner at the end of the term in June 2020 would be K19.2 million and 15 percent of the accrued amount would be K2 880 000. The MEC chairperson would walk away with K3 960 000.

The commissioners are expected to pay 10 percent for Toyota Landcruiser vehicles bought for them in 2016.

It's a lucrative job for the commissioners who were also entitled to K10 million loans to buy one duty-free motor vehicle for personal use. The loan was to be deducted within the four-year period.

The chairperson and commissioners also get K15 000 and K10 000 sitting allowances, respectively, telephone and internet allowances of K20 000 and K15 000 for the chairperson and commissioners, respectively, and $250 and $200 for chairperson and commissioners.

The commissioners were also entitled to VIP Masm cover for themselves, spouse and up to four children and two dependants.

Further, the commissioners and the chairperson were entitled to 300 and 500 litres of fuel per month respectively, K50 000 and K60 000 hospitality allowance, respectively, and K400 000 and K500 000 furniture allowance at the beginning of each term of office.

The eight MEC commissioners also enjoyed monthly domestic servant allowances of K30 000 each, an armed police guard, three security guards and burglar alarm system for security as well as utility allowances of K30 000 for the chairperson and K25 000 for the commissioners.

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