Mbendera admits voter apathy mars Malawi by-elections: Calls for research

Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) chairperson Maxon Mbendera has conceded that Tuesday’s Parliamentary and Local Government By-elections were marred by a poor turnout as most registered voters snubbed the poll, which main opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) outclassed the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in central region.

Justice Maxon Mbendera: We need research on voter apathy

Justice Maxon Mbendera: We need research on voter apathy

MEC held by-elections in Zomba Chisi Constituency, Ngala Ward in Lilongwe Msozi North Constituency, and Mtope Ward in Mchinji West Constituency.

The elections faced low voter turn-out with only 16,126 voters casting their vote although about 67,557 people had registered.

Announcing official results at Mount Soche Hotel on Wednesday, Supreme Court of Malawi judge Mbendera declared MCP as a winner in both Local Government seats in central region while the ruling DPP scoped the Parliamentary seat in eastern region.

MCP and former ruling People’s Party (PP) performed miserably in eastern region.

In Ngala ward in Lilongwe, MCP candidate, Master Rodgers Chazama won 1,381 votes with DPP candidate, Regina Sululu on second with 717 votes.

A total of 2,128 votes were casted in all polling station out of 15,330 registered voters representing 13. 88 percent ; 30 votes were null and void representing 1.41 percent.

In Mchinji’s Mtope Ward, MCP’s candidate Aureliano Kalemba won with2,444 votes while DPP’s Benedicto Tsele got 2,071 votes.

There were a total of 26,433 registered voters and only 4,569 casted their votes, representing 17.29 percent voter turn-out. 54 votes were null and void, representing 1.18 percent.

And in Zomba Chisi Constituency, a DPP Parliamentary candidate, Mark Botoman has been declared a winner with 3,019 votes followed by independent candidate, Dyson Chimwala who got 2,792 votes.

Independent candidate, Felistas Mpando Sumani got 2,218 votes, PP’s candidate Asma Mponda got 950 votes and MCP’s Brazio Namakhuwa got 208 votes while Stephen Alexious Chikwapula (independent) got 107 votes.

Zomba Chisi had a total of 25,794 registered voters and only 9,429 turned out for polling, representing 36.56 percent voter turnout. 135 votes were null and void, representing 1.43 percent.

Mbendera admitted the by-elections experienced low voter turn-out and described the situation as less statisfactory.

”The situation is less satisfactory comparing to the by-elections we had on 25th August in five wards. The low turnout is of concern to the Commission,” said Mbendera.

The Tuesday’s by-elections recorded an average voter turnout of 23.6 percent comparing to the 25.57 percent in previous elections.

Meanwhile, Mbendera has called for a thorough research to find out the ‘structural causes’ of voter apathy.

”The numbers are seriously dwendling. We need to go to the electorate and ask them what make them not to turnout to vote in large numbers as they do when attending political rallies”.

Mec Media and Public Relations Manager, Sangwani Mwafulirwa on Tuesday attributed the situation to rainy season as people were busy tending to their gardens.

“While some centres had warm turnout others had less people trickling in the morning. This is not uncommon with by-elections more especially considering that this is farming season,” explained Mwafulirwa.

”Some voters would want to go to their gardens first and come for polling in the afternoon”.

In Zomba, Mec held Parliamentary by-election following the death of legislator, Chidzaro Peter Mangulenje who was, until his death, deputy secretary general for the DPP.
In Lilongwe Ngala Ward elections were held after its councilor Misheck Khomba resigned on personal grounds- first time it has happened in the history of Malawi- while in Mchinji Mtope Ward, the councillor John Msimatiliza had died.

There only 10 candidates contesting in the elections with three of them representing political parties despite the country having about 15 registered parties.

Only the ruling DPP, the main opposition, Malawi Congress Party (MCP), the Peoples Party (PP) and independent candidates contested in the by-elections. The United Democratic Front (UDF) did not field any candidate.

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Wapamtima
Guest

I did a research out of 1000 , 983 said that MEC chair is the one who vote so is no nead to waste their time to vote. in 2019 they will not vote if mackson will be chairing mec

utitiri
Guest

To me this election should have been declared null and void! How can someone be declared a winner with 3000 votes out of 25000 eligible registered voters in Zomba and 1000 votes out of 15000 eligible registered voters in Lilongwe and 2400 votes out of 26000 eligible registered voters in Mchinji? This is the reason why Malawians want the 50+1 vote system!!!

Patriots
Guest

Mec is very passive turning a blind eye to reforms yet so called educated hierarchy remain dumb founded whenever errors occurs!

Khamani!!
Guest

Research ? No one has time for your Mickey Mouse elections!

Gadabwali
Guest

He has himself to blame, asova

Truck
Guest

A MBENDERA KODI U JUDGE WAKE MUNAPHUNZIRA KUTI? ANTHU AKAMAKUUZANI KUTI MUMAKONDERA DPP MUMAKANA PANO MULUNGU WAKUONETSANI MAVOTI ENI ENI OSATI ZOPANGA HACK MACHINE ANU A MEC KIKI! PANO MWASOWA CHONENE MUKUFUNA KUBELANSO KIKI!

Kunta
Guest

People are simply dissapointed with the whole electoral system!

The Patriot
Guest
There is no need for research your honor, the reason for the voter apathy is the way you handled the 2014 elections. Being such a learned Judge you know that you and MEC are the reasons for the voter apathy! Malawians dont trust the current MEC leadership and see no need to waste their time voting when the results are decided by MEC!!! Instead of “Research” which may cost the taxpayer alot of money and the results may be rigged and not used, because people will definitely say the reason is you sir, and the verdict will be for you… Read more »
Richman
Guest

No need of conducting research, my honorable justice. its common knowledge that people don’t see any value in by-elections, and slowly the confidence and trust for the elected (including presidential and parliamentary election) is fading out. Clearly, the elected, as representatives of the electorate, need to impress the electorate in a better way than they currently do.

Tonny
Guest

Research what…? That people don’t trust MEC..? what an idiotic losser….

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