Malawi president vows not to reopen electoral commission

2011-02-05 14:52

Blantyre – Malawian President Bingu wa Mutharika said today that he would not reopen the country’s electoral commission until he got a “full explanation” of how millions of election funding went missing.

“I will not open the Malawi electoral commission until a full explanation is given to the Malawi people on how the 1.4 billion kwacha (R62 million) was used,” Mutharika told a public rally to mark anti-corruption day in the northern city of Mzuzu.

In December, Mutharika suspended the nine-member commission, which was preparing for local polls scheduled for April 20 2011, in order to allow for investigations to be carried out without interference.

Mutharika said “some non-governmental organisations supported by donors are pressing me to open the commission before we get the results of how the money went missing ... How is that possible?”

Corruption and fraud is rampant in the small southern African country, where prosecutors have said one-third of the country’s revenue was lost to fraud.

The April polls were to be the second since the introduction of multiparty democracy in 1994.

Malawi has postponed the polls on several occasions, including in 2005 when Mutharika said he could not hold the vote amidst famine that threatened half the country’s then 12 million people.

Mutharika ends his second five-year term in 2014.

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