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All set for today’s polls

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Sangwani Mwafulirwa

All is set for today’s by-election in Lilongwe North West Constituency, Karonga Central Constituency and Makhuwira South Ward in Chikwawa East Constituency, the Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) has said.

Mec spokesperson Sangwani Mwafulirwa said all presiding officers and polling station operation officers had been fully trained in their work.

“The commission has also arranged adequate security. There will be police patrols in suspected hotspots and all areas. At every polling station there will be adequate security personnel to ensure that polling goes on smoothly without disturbances. The commission is advising the general public to refrain from perpetrating violence because they will be apprehended and prosecuted,” he said.

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Karonga Central Constituency fell vacant after Cornelius Mwalwanda died in July this year while Lilongwe North West fell vacant after its then law maker Lazarus Chakwera was elected president in the June 23 fresh presidential election.

On the other hand, Makhwira South Ward became vacant following the death of Manick Ganneti who was hit by a stray bullet.

Initially the elections were supposed to be held in Mangochi West, Mangochi North East and Phalombe North constituencies where parliamentary election results in the 2019 tripartite elections were nullified by the courts due to irregularities.

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The election in these constituencies was, however, put on hold to allow the commission time to hold elections in accordance with a court order which directed that only those who took part in the 2019 election would participate in activities.

Meanwhile, Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) and Public Affairs Committee (PAC) have called on the Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) to prove doubters wrong on electoral management issues.

Representatives of the two organisations said this Monday at a press briefing in Lilongwe.

CCJP National Coordinator Boniface Chibwana said, on their part, they would undertake independent and non-partisan observation of the elections.

Chibwana said the consortium has already deployed long term observers for the Elections.

“We have trained and deployed 73 observers, 45 in Lilongwe North Constituency and 28 in Karonga Central Constituency. These observers will be stationed and will observe all election-day activities in 73 sampled polling stations in the two constituencies,” Chibwana said.

Pac Publicity Secretary Reverand Criffold Matonga urged political parties to guard against violence.

“We have a report that indicates that most political parties use intimidation and violence, which is very much uncalled for.

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