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Jane Ansah bemoans Lilongwe-South violence

Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) has said it will wait for an assurance of peace from political parties and other stakeholders before conducting Lilongwe-South Constituency parliamentary by-election.

Mec Chairperson, Justice Jane Ansah, said this in Blantyre yesterday when she declared results for by-election held in Matenje Ward, Kasungu North-West.

Ansah said Mec was ready to hold the Lilongwe- South by-election alongside that of Matenje Ward if it were not for violence in the constituency.

“In the course of the campaign period, there were serious cases of violence occurring in the constituency. The commission tried to quell the situation through Multi-party Liaison Committee but it never worked. The situation was getting worse, more cases continued to occur,” she said.

“Subsequently, the commission met on 29th October 2019 in Lilongwe to review the situation and a resolution was made to postpone the by-election activities in the constituency. This was to save lives and property and to give room for addressing all matters causing the violence.”

Ansah said Mec would hold the by-election in Lilongwe- South once the situation normalises and the onus is on political parties to ensure that peace prevails in the constituency.

Ansah described the Matenje Ward by-election as fair, credible and violence free..

Ansah said Descent Chipangula of Malawi Congress Party (MCP) won the seat with 1,489 votes while Nelson Maseko of Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) came second with 1,203 votes.

Clifford Mbewe, an independent, got 185 votes, Shadreck Mvula (independent) earned 55 votes while Vincent Phiri of Mbakuwaku Movement for Development collected 119 votes.

The vacancy in Matenje Ward arose following the death of the area’s councilor, Alick Banda, on September 18 2019.

DPP spokesperson, Nicholas Dausi, Wednesday said he wants to consult before assuring Mec of a peaceful campaign on their part.

But MCP spokesperson, Maurice Munthali, said theirs remains a peaceful party.

“MCP is a peaceful party which is being led by a peaceful and God-fearing leader. We can assure Mec of a peaceful campaign on our part. Having said that, we wish to urge the police to remain professional when maintaining law and order in times of misunderstandings,” he said.

UTM withdrew from the Lilongwe South elections saying they do not have confidence in Mec.

On a national scale, Malawi has witnessed cases of violence during demonstrations which Human Rights Defenders Coalition has been organising since June 2019 to push for Ansah and other Mec commisioners’ resignation for allegedly mismanaging the May 21 tripartite elections results.

MCP president Lazarus Chakwera and UTM leader Saulos Chilima are challenging the election results in court, claiming irregularities.

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