Impoverished Malawians are expected to be coughing an additional K3.6 billion annually in Constituency Developed Fund (CDF) allocations following last week’s adoption of the constituencies and wards boundaries review report by Parliament.
Currently, each constituency gets K100 million of CDF every year, totalling K19.3 billion distributed to the current 193 constituencies.
Following confirmation by the National Assembly, there will be 229 constituencies and 509 wards, up from 462 in the 2025 elections, bringing the total financial allocation for CDF to K22.9 billion every year.
The increase in the number of constituencies has, however, seen some individuals, including Nkhata Bay West parliamentarian Chrispine Mphande and good governance advocate Willy Kambwandira, opposing the move, describing it as ill-timed.
Mphande said the country’s population, which is currently hovering around 20 million, is too small to have 200 constituencies.
He said, for instance, Zambia, with about 19 million people and much bigger in area covered, has 160 members of Parliament while Tanzania, which has over 63 million people, has 239 legislators.
“I think those are the figures we have to use. When we consider the hardships we are experiencing now, it could have been better to reduce the [number of] constituencies,” he said.
“If anything, our members of Parliament ought to strive to put in place legal frameworks that promote equity in the allocation of public resources.
“And, again, it is high time citizens started demanding transparency and accountability in the allocation of public resources. The creation of additional constituencies is not a solution to problems we are facing,” Kambwandira said.
Last week, Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister Titus Mvalo presented to the National Assembly the boundary review report that Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) submitted early this month.
Contributing to the report, the Democratic Progressive Party, through its spokesperson Yusuf Nthenda, argued that it was ill- timed, considering the current economic challenges.
Mec is working on gazetting the new boundaries before making the citizenry aware of the same and work on setting up new polling centres.
“We will also be calling on the public to advise us in case where the previous centres are far away from people because of the boundary reviews,” Mec Director of Communications Sangwani Mwafulirwa said Sunday.
Confirmation of constituency boundaries is a requirement of Section 76(5)(b) of the Constitution, which stipulates that the National Assembly shall confirm all determinations by the commission.
The last boundaries revision exercise was done in 1998. In 1964, the country had 53 constituencies that were increased to 63 in 1973.
Mathews Kasanda is a journalist who holds a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from University of Malawi (The Polytechnic).
In 2015, Media Institute of Southern Africa awarded him the Best Print Media Education Journalist of the Year accolade.
He joined Times Group Newsroom in September 2019.