HRDC pushes for bye-elections

Chifundo Kachale

Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) has asked the government to abide by good governance principles by giving the Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) funds with which to conduct bye-elections in two wards of Lupembe in Karonga District and Shire in Balaka District.

The call comes after Mec Chairperson Justice Chifundo Kachale recently indicated that the electoral body would hold the bye-elections once the government released funds for the exercise.

He indicated that the electoral body had exhausted funds which were allocated for by-elections in the 2021-22 financial year.


HRDC Chairperson Gift Trapence told The Daily Times that failure to hold bye-elections within 60 days after a seat falls vacant was a violation of human rights.

Trapence said further delays to hold the polls would deny people of Lupembe and Shire wards the right to be represented during council meetings.

“We are saying that the government should respect good governance principles and fund the elections. People from Shire and Lupembe wards are also Malawians and, as such, they deserve representation at local council level. Funding constraints should not affect them. Mec should hold the by-elections,” Trapence said.


Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace Karonga Diocese Desk Officer Louis Nkhata concurred with HRDC, saying voting was a democratic right.

“As such, this right has to be respected,” he said.

Government spokesperson Gospel Kazako agreed with HRDC, saying Mec was an independent body but gets its funding from the government.

He said the electoral body was treated the way other institutions that get funds from the government are treated.

Recently, Ministry of Finance spokesperson Williams Banda said they would act appropriately once they got a request to that effect.

Lupembe and Shire wards fell vacant following the death of councillors Vincent Kayuni and Patrick Botomani, respectively.

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