In Malawi government backs vice-president’s role over electoral body

Blantyre, Malawi, Dec. 7 (Raphael Tenthani-Newstime Africa) Government has said there is nothing sinister in placing the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) in the armpits of Vice-President Khumbo Kachali. “MEC will still be independent, nobody will interfere,” said Information Minister Moses Kunkuyu.

Malawi VP Khumbo Kachali

In making her first cabinet reshuffle since assuming office in April following her predecessor Bingu wa Mutharika’s sudden death from cardiac arrest, President Joyce Banda removed Kachali as Minister of Health but, among other departments, she placed MEC under his office. This drew fire from commentators who feared for the independence of the elections body.

But Kunkuyu, who is government spokesman, defended the move, saying President Banda has put MEC under the vice-president office for smooth operations of the 2014 tripartite elections.

“That position is to make sure that we have a smooth running of the tripartite elections,” he said. “We want to have a contact point between MEC and government. We don’t want a situation where MEC will have no transport because there is no contact point.”

Malawi will in 2014 hold presidential, parliamentary and ward elections together for the first time.

Kunkuyu insisted that since Malawi will be holding tri-partite elections for the first time there is need for constant touch between MEC and government

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