EU unveils K3.5bn funding for 2025 elections

EU unveils K3.5bn funding for 2025 elections

European Union (EU) has unveiled a three million euro (about K3.5 billion) contribution to the 2025 Elections Basket Fund through its flagship Malawi Democratic Governance Project.

Briefing the media in Lilongwe yesterday, EU Ambassador Rune Skinnebach said the fund will support three components, namely bolstering the capacity of the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC), Malawi Police Service and civil society organisstions (CSOs) to engage in the electoral process.

Skinnebach: We believe in Malawi and its democracy

He said this will in turn contribute to “a well-managed, inclusive and transparent electoral process”.

Said Skinnebach: “Through the programme, EU will also provide 3.5 million euro [about K4 billion] to Nice Trust to support voter education and another K4 billion towards the CSO-led 50/50 Campaign project.”

He said the EU will also support the National Registration Bureau (NRB) with three euro million through the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and another three million to support Ministry of Local Government Directorate of Civic Education, bringing the total of EU’s contribution towards the 2025 elections to 16.5 million euro (about K19.4 billion).

In an interview yesterday, Viwemi Chavula, team leader for Centre for Civil Society Strengthening (CCSS) which led the 50-50 Campaign Management Agency in the 2019 Tripartite Elections, hailed the EU for supporting women to take up political leadership positions in Malawi.

The EU’s contribution is so far the largest to the $8.324 million (about K9 billion) UNDP Elections Basket Fund, a pool of resources from development partners such as United States Agency for International Development (USAid), the UK Government, the Royal Norwegian Embassy and the Republic of Ireland.

The EU was also the largest single donor to the Malawi Electoral Cycle Support Project 2017-2021, the basket fund which supported MEC, civil society, women candidates and the Malawi Police Service.

During the briefing, the EU envoy, however, called for transparency in political party financing, emphasising on the promotion of the implementation of the legal frameworks on the same.

He said: “The EU Elections Observation Mission in the last election recommended a higher degree of transparency in political party financing, among its 24 recommendations. In my interaction with parliamentarians, I asked them how they finance their campaign, and I agree with our observation mission that transparency is not optimum.

“It’s really not clear how campaigns are financed, and how political parties are run. The legal framework is there and I think its a matter of implementation.”

The EU announcement’s comes barely three weeks after the UK Government unveiled a contribution of two million pound sterling (about K2.5 billion) towards the Malawi Electoral Support Project to support preparations for free, fair and credible elections in 2025.

Parliament allocated K29 billion for the 2020 Fresh Presidential Election following the nullification of the 2019 presidential election. Initially, MEC had pegged the fresh election budget at K38 billion.

Malawi Government spent about K44 billion on the May 21 2019 Tripartite Elections that involved seven presidential candidates, 1 331 parliamentary candidates, 2 615 local government aspirants and about 6 859 570 voters.

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