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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27 thoughts on “Mbendera admits voter apathy mars Malawi by-elections: Calls for research”

  1. Wapamtima says:

    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

  2. utitiri says:

    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!!!

  3. Patriots says:

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

  4. Khamani!! says:

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

  5. Gadabwali says:

    He has himself to blame, asova

  6. Truck says:

    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!

  7. Kunta says:

    People are simply dissapointed with the whole electoral system!

  8. The Patriot says:

    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 to resign.
    Instead of the useless and expensive “research” i strongly suggest you do some soul searching, go home and look yourself in the mirror, Mr Mbendera, and look hard , not for a few seconds, but longer, and ask the man in the mirror if he likes what he sees. That man in the mirror is the reason why the electoral process in Malawi stinks at the moment!!! He should cry again and tender his resignation to the President who he single handedly elected!! May God have mercy on you sir!!!!!

  9. Richman says:

    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.

  10. Tonny says:

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

  11. Naliyela says:

    The reason is simple. People don’t have trust in MEC. Don’t you know that Mr Chairperson?

  12. if only ramsay snow and joffrey baratheon had met... says:

    mbendera, lol…

  13. angoni apaphata says:

    No research needed. Mbendera and mec are the sole reason people don’t want to waste their time. Loss of confidence bwana.

  14. KELTON SOMANJE says:

    People have lst trust in thos elected into offices,because they dont fulfill the promises they made during campaigns.Hos running for offices should be civiceducated on how fulfilling of promises willb encouraging people to go and vote in other elections.MEC should have enough funds for 2019 Elections and Civic Education should start earer than campaigns.

  15. KELTON SOMANJE says:

    People did not turnup in large numbers becuse they have dicovered that the ar only making those elected to positions to be rich without fulfilling their promises.Parliamentry ,LocalGovernment and Presidential Elcions candidate hould be Civic educated on how fulfilling of their promises they made during campaigns can encourage people to go to vote in other elections.

  16. choka phiri says:

    Mbendere be careful. 2019 Will be your death If u favour DDP again. You are black even in your brai n a man without proud of your education. The reson Why some of we font want tog come to Malawi is because of these idiots Mbendere. Its better we work here. Our education could have been needed but fear to be used by greedy leaders who want favour and force us to work without moral. Education means pride status correctly. Not the way it is in Malawi. Educated people have NO freedom. If they dont do as a leader say they are fired. Why going to study and my parents pay fee and not do right in my profession. APM should know this. He could not do wrong in US. But a black man can do right when He is in White mans land there is NO nonsense here. Donald Trump was right. He was reflecting to people like APM. Malawi will never be a good nation where poor people can live. Too many greedy and thieves. White donors are tired.

  17. Patriot says:

    Anthu anatopa ndi zobera mavoti kwa DPP. Olo tisamavote ZIRIBE NTCHITO

  18. Gadabwali says:

    I am ready to carry out the research on voter apathy, and right now I have a proposal ready. But the problem is I have no money. Can MEC fund me for this noble cause? If the answer is no, then stop this nonsense of conducting research.

  19. The Analyst says:

    O………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………O………………………………………………………………………………..O
    Mbendera, you don’t even need a research on such an obvious thing:

    You vote for a person and fold your arms in wait for development, but all that greets your ears is irritating news that the MP is
    . . . arrested for safe-keeping for chewing a 16-year old girl and/or a 23-year old whore. . .
    . . . complaining of a salary delay . . .
    . . . demanding an apology for being called Kanthiti or for not being addressed as ‘honourable’ . . .
    ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….
    . . . Are you sure any sane person can waste their precious time waking up in the morning, waiting in the queue to cast a vote when it benefits them nothing?
    . . . And are you sure, you can hold your chin and swing your head in wonder and contemplate on conducting a research when all is laid bare even for the common eye to see? People have been taken for granted, ka; a a! There literally is nothing that these MPs and Councillors do apart from whoring around town and displaying their bibulous demeanours.
    . . . Sad!
    O…………………………………………………………………………………………………………..O………………………………………………………………………………………………O

  20. kenkkk says:

    Maxon,research again?

  21. Isn’t it obvious?

  22. Mbandela must be an educated idiot, apanso ndipoti pofunika research wat for anthu aluza nanu hop okondela inu, malawi electoral comissition, my foot, fya!

  23. Mfumu Tumbwe says:

    People have lost trust in any of this nonsense elections, coz they knw it is this Mampara Mbendera who choses whom he wants. Not who people have voted for, komano time will tell you shall also pay for ur actions

  24. zimkambani says:

    You have taken Malawians for granted and you use them as a means to an end and not an end in themselves. There is no real benefit accruing to the communities apart from enriching just the few. Carry out the research and publish the results if you are genuine ir else it is just another propaganda statement

  25. jailos says:

    DPP asamale chifikwa MCP sikubwela bwino

  26. Mary says:

    We need no research on voter apathy. Injustice, cheating, corruption among others erode voter confidence in the system.

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