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Mec not surprised at by-election low turnout

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Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) Chairperson Chifundo Kachale has said he is not surprised at the low voter turnout during Tuesday’s Local Government by-elections where 12,284 people cast their votes against the registered 37,844.

Kachale was speaking in Mzuzu Wednesday where he announced winners of the polls that took place in Wenya, Lupembe and Shire wards in Chitipa, Karonga and Balaka in that order.

“These trends are not too surprising for local government by-elections and, as a commission, we have always made efforts to encourage people to come and vote especially to value the importance of local government councillors for governance and administration of their councils,” he said.

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Mec declared Malawi Congress Party (MCP) candidates Ronald Kayira and Elisha Waikako Winga winners in Wenya and Lupembe wards respectively.

The commission also declared Dickson Jackson Wasili of United Democratic Front (UDF) winner in Shire Ward.

Kachale expressed concern that no female candidate and person with disabilities contested in the by-elections.

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He said it was interesting to note that at least seven out of the 13 registered political parties in the country fielded candidates, which is an increase from previous by-elections.

“This is a noticeable improvement from the past by-elections. Though it is not compulsory, the commission was expecting more parties to participate because this was their platform to test their popularity,” Kachale said.

Meanwhile, one person has been arrested in Karonga for allegedly issuing handouts, which is a criminal offense under the Political Parties Act.

Mec held the by-elections in the three wards following the deaths of councillors for the respective areas.

Shire Ward fell vacant on 24 October, 2021, Lupembe Ward on December 11, 2021, while Wenya Ward fell vacant on June 13, 2022.

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