The Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace of the Archdiocese of Lilongwe (CCJP) has challenged police and traditional leaders in the Lilongwe North West Constituency to be extra vigilant against political violence ahead of the impending by-election.
The seat fell vacant because Malawi Congress Party (MCP) leader Lazarus Chakwera resigned to contest for presidential election and eventually was dully elected.
The CCJP appeal follows revelation that over 18 people are seeking nomination to contest on the MCP ticket in the by-election.
Apart from Lilongwe North West Constituency, the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) will hold by-election in Karonga Central Constituency whose legislator Cornelius Mwalwanda passed away two weeks ago.
MEC is also going to conduct by-election in Mangochi West and Mangochi North East where election results for May 19 2019 were annulled by the courts.
And with financial support from Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (Osisa), CCJP Lilongwe has started preparing key stakeholders for the by-election in Lilongwe North West Constituency.
These stakeholders include CCJP volunteers under Nambuma Catholic Parish, traditional leaders, community policing members and faith leaders.
And speaking at Msonga-Kazumba Catholic Church on Thursday, CCJP governance officer, Mwai Sandram, observed that the police and traditional leaders will face a daunting task to ensure that all the processes preceding the by-election are transparent and accountable.
Sandram warned that anything less than transparent and accountable would spark violence in the area as the competition during the primary election will be very stiff.
“Given the number of people expressing interest to contest on MCP ticket in Lilongwe North West Constituency presents you with a very tough assignment. The eyes of the voters will be on you to see what role you will assume to ensure that the primary election is free and fair,” he said.
He challenged traditional leaders and the police to help in enforcing the anti-handouts law before, during and after the election.
“Don’t sell your right to development for a mere handout that will never sustain you. And as you resist bribes from the contestants, please tell the people also to desist from soliciting monetary gifts from the candidates,” he added.
In his remarks, Group Village Head Dzuwa said there is need for CCJP and civic and voter education providers to work closely with the chiefs in ensuring that there is peace during the preparation and at the actual voting process.
CCJP Committee chairperson for Nambuma Catholic Parish, Timothy Mdzoole, said the volunteers are committed to delivering impartial civic and voter education.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :