The Malawi Electoral Commission has lamented that the use of aged fleet for the secretariat has increased maintenance costs which erode all the commission’s funding for recurrent transactions.
Giving a general picture of the transport situation within MEC, chairperson Justice Maxon Mbendera said in Blantyre that the current fleet is aged and was supposed to be replaced some three years ago.
He was speaking at a function where MEC got a new lease of life through what could be termed as a New Year gift, in the form of motorcycles from the National Statistical Office (NSO).
We understand that the government’s upside priorities worsened the situation in MEC because it did not buy operational vehicles but rather for commissioners.
“That year government bought only 10 land cruisers which are now used by Commissioners, otherwise we are glad that the working relationship between the Commission and the National Statistical Office is being cemented by the handing over of these motorcycles today,” he said.
The NSO has been a crucial partner to the electoral process since the establishment of MEC in 1998. Notably, NSO has been providing the statistical estimates on which MEC has been basing logistical planning.
A good example, said the MEC chair, was that of data used in planning for voter registration for the May 2014 registration.
During the May 2014 elections, NSO let out about 50 motorcycles deployed to the councils for use by District staff in the 35 councils.
“The gesture by the NSO during 2014 elections helped minimize the transport challenges faced at council level by our staff in the run up to the May 2014 elections because our staff could use the motorcycles for errands that did not require them carry bulk materials.
“We are grateful that the NSO has decided to transfer ownership of 24 of these 50 motorcycles to MEC. This is a big boost to us. We will proceed to deploy these motorcycles to the councils where at the moment they do not have any means of mobility but also motivate staff to work even better,”
MEC district staff beg for transport from other government departments who are also not on good footing.
“You and I are no strangers to the transport situation in government departments especially at council level. This is why I am more than glad that the NSO has played Good Samaritan by donating these motorcycles to the Commission.
“With consultation with NSO in planning to conduct a thorough demarcation process whereby we will review boundaries of all constituencies and wards. By its nature, this assignment will involve a lot of activity at the council level and the donation today will go a long way in aiding our staff in the councils to discharge their duties effectively,” said the MEC chair, assuring the nation that MEC will take good care of these motorcycles and also ensure that there is no abuse but rather used for official purposes.