MEC urged to include NGOs in poll budget

National Elections Systems Trust (NEST), has asked the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) to include the Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in the budget which the electoral body is about to present to the Treasury ahead of the fresh presidential election.

NEST Executive Director, Unandi Banda, expressed the need for the NGOs to be included in the budget for them to reach the remotest areas with civic and voter education exercises so that they can convince the people on why they should vote for the second time.

During the previous elections, the budget left aside the NGOs a development which the NGOs said it contributed to some shortfalls during the exercise.

On Monday, 23rd March, MEC, launched a calendar for the fresh presidential elections slated for 2 July this year.

Banda said: “We are just waiting for MEC to organize a meeting with the NGOs where among other issues, we will push them to include the NGOs in the budget so that we can conduct civic and voter education to all the areas.”

He said during the previous elections, most NGOs had no financial muscle to reach many areas, more especially that are hard to reach.

He therefore said this contributed to anomalies that occurred during the election process.

NEST director further called on MEC to accredit the NGO’s since their accreditations expired on 30th June last year.

According to MEC calendar, voter registration exercise shall run from 4th April to 7th June this year.

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