The Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) has announced that it will develop a calendar and budget for the 2025 general elections this year.
In his new year message, Mec Chairperson Judge Chifundo Kachale says the cost of the elections will be spread over three financial-year budgets to avoid exerting pressure on the government budget in the election year.
“Stakeholders should be aware that elections are a cycle. Preparations start now and not in the elections year,” he said.
The commission has also indicated that it has not finished the boundary review process, which is the foundation for 2025 elections.
In 2022, activities include a review of boundary scenarios from local councils, choosing the preliminary map for each council and printing of the preliminary maps for each council.
Kachale added that the commission was committed to finalising the boundary review exercise for both constituencies and wards.
The activity started in 2021, when sensitisation meetings were conducted and stakeholders expressed their views on the exercise.
Kachale indicated that the electoral body would only consider presentations backed by the law because some representations were rife with personal interests.
“Sadly, some have gone to the extent of mobilising chiefs and deliberately twisting facts to buy sympathy by lying to the chiefs that the commission has taken away some of their subjects into another chief [‘s hands].
“The commission has not tampered with any chieftainship boundary and the law does not give the commission those powers,” a Mec statement which Kachale was referring to reads.
In 2021, Mec conducted by-elections in 11 constituencies and five wards. Some of the seats had fallen vacant due to the death of office-bearers while, in other areas, elections were conducted after courts nullified results of previous elections.
At the moment, there are two vacant wards: Shire Ward in Balaka District and Lupembe Ward in Karonga District.
After conducting the May 21 2019 general elections, Mec conducted a court-ordered presidential election on June 23 2020 after the High Court sitting as a Constitutional Court ordered a rerun, a decision the Supreme Court of Appeal upheld.
In the fresh polls, Lazarus Chakwera emerged winner, defeating Peter Mutharika of the Democratic Progressive Party.
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.