By Deogratias Mmana
Public Affairs Committee (Pac) and Centre for Multiparty Democracy (CMD) have asked parliamentarians to forgo their political interests and adopt creation of new 35 constituencies following the ongoing demarcation exercise by Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec).
Mec held a meeting with Pac and CMD yesterday in Lilongwe to appraise them on the new 35 constituencies.
The two bodies also urged Mec and government to avoid sacrificing democratic values by suppressing the new constituencies because of lack of resources’ adage.
“The last demarcation exercise took place in 1998. This means that some people in the country have not been fairly represented for the past 23 years since this exercise is supposed to take place every five years.
“We, as Pac, are saying we should not sacrifice democracy because of political interests or lack of resources. There are resources in this country,” said Pac Vice-Chairperson Osman Karim.
Pac member Bishop Fanuel Magangani of Anglican Church urged parliamentarians to deliberate the Mec report, when it is due, with soberness and national-building spirit.
“We urge Parliament not to frustrate this exercise as they did with electoral reforms,” Magangani said.
Another Pac member, Bishop Martin Mtumbuka of Catholic Church said some of the problems Mec would face in the exercise is to convince politicians that population distribution in Malawi is not spread evenly.
He also said Mec would be expected to convince masses on the usefulness of members of Parliament (MPs).
“There is a feeling out there that our MPs are not useful and are just wasting our money. You have a big job to prove to the masses that MPs are useful. Out there, the feeling is that after donating coffins, there is nothing left for MPs to do,” Mtumbuka said.
CMD Vice-Chairperson Wakuda Kamanga, whose body represents all political parties represented in Parliament, said the centre was in support of the demarcation exercise.
He asked Mec to clear grey areas in the process for easy buy-in.
Mec Chairperson Chifundo Kachale said when the commission finalises the exercise, it would engage MPs to discuss the draft report.
Mec announced last week that the number of constituencies had swelled from 193 to 228.
Kachale said the revised distribution of the constituencies meant that, as far as the 2025 general elections are concerned, all boundaries have been abolished.