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President Mutharika is Too Busy to Schedule Local Elections

The State House says President Bingu wa Mutharika is too busy to schedule a date for local government elections.

Sources at the Malawi Electoral Commission though reveal that a tentative calendar suggesting that local polls be held on September 20, 2011 was submitted for the president’s approval a fortnight ago.

The presidential spokesperson Hetherwick Ntaba told ZBS that the president has a busy schedule.

Spokesperson for the electoral commission Aubrey Sumbuleta, while refusing to confirm whether or not the electoral body had sent recommendations, admitted that the commission has communicated its stand to all stakeholders.

“We have indicated to key stakeholders that for us to be back to normal, we need four to five months”, said Sumbuleta.

Presidential spokesperson Ntaba says he has no information on the delivery of the said recommendations to the president.

He said the president has so much on his table.

“It simply means the president has been busy doing so many other things. I think this issue has not reached his desk yet and he has not made any decision on that yet”, said Ntaba.

The president suspiciously suspended the electoral commission early December on allegations that some K1.4 billion was missing. But an independent audit discovered that the amount not accounted for was slightly over K400 million.

In a very unfortunate move last year, the DPP dominated parliament amended the local government act giving the president absolute powers to decide local government polling dates.

President Mutharika has not shown any interest in holding local elections and the suspension of the electoral commission in December was thought to be a deliberate move to derail the whole electoral process.

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