By Peter Kanjere:
Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) has maintained the list of constituencies and wards where the May 21 2019 Tripartite Elections will take place, saying demarcation will only take place in 2020 after Population and Housing Census results.
There have been concerns from some electoral stakeholders that some constituencies and wards are too big, hence the need for fresh demarcation.
Mec Media and Public Relations Director, Sangwani Mwafulirwa, released a list of 193 constituencies and 462 wards over the weekend so as to help those involved in the elections to make informed decisions.
Mwafulirwa Sunday clarified that Mec did not hint that it would demarcate constituencies and wards before the forthcoming elections as such an exercise can only be informed by latest figures of the country’s population.
“For 2019 elections, there will be no new constituencies or wards created. We will maintain the same 193 constituencies and 462 wards that were used in 2014. The commission is aware of the disparities that exist among constituencies, like some having over 100, 000 registered voters while others have about 6,000,” he said.Advertisement
“We need to correct these disparities to ensure that constituencies are of almost equal population. This correction can be done through a comprehensive demarcation exercise. This exercise could not be done ahead of 2019 elections because the law requires that demarcation should be done considering the population of eligible voters and not actual registered voters.
“We needed a reliable source of data for this and it is the census that can provide this. Since the census was done this year and that Mec will be holding elections in 2019, a comprehensive demarcation exercise will be done in 2020
Mwafuirwa said Mec conducted meetings with all stakeholders to iron out issues to do with unclear boundaries and the need for new voting centres, resulting in the creation of 400.
“Stakeholders should also know that the comprehensive demarcation might result in an increase or decrease in number of constituencies but all this shall be tackled that time and not now. So, all stakeholders who have issues bordering on demarcation of wards and constituencies should know that we will not address them now but after elections,” he said.
Malawi Congress Party spokesperson, Maurice Munthali, said they have no qualms with Mec’s stance on the wards and constituencies.
“We are not surprised by this and we do not want to be seen arguing with Mec. We are set. Much as we know that some constituencies are bigger, we have planned well and we will be able to manage them. You should also know that we are an established party and this will not shake us,” Munthali said.
People’s Party (PP) spokesperson, Ackson Kalaile-Banda, yesterday said Mec informed them that demarcation would be done in 2020, adding that the party is ready for the elections.
PP has meanwhile announced that it will hold primary elections from January 2 to 15.
UTM general secretary, Patricia Kaliati, Sunday said the demarcation of constituencies and wards is Mec’s business.
She said UTM is ready to feature candidates in all wards and constituencies
Malawi Electoral Support Network Chairperson, Steve Duwa, Sunday said they expected Mec to maintain the wards and constituencies as the body made that clear at the onset of the electoral calendar.— Additional reporting by Feston Malekezo
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