Attorney General, Thabo Chakaka Nyirenda has issued a public notice of a Bill that has been prepared whose principal object, amongst others, is to amend the Constitution in order to change the name of the Electoral Commission to Malawi Electoral Commission.
It is also to prescribe the period for holding by-elections; to provide for the minimum and maximum number of members of the Electoral Commission; to provide for a change in the intervals for the review of existing constituency boundaries; and to provide for more clarity on the conduct of second poll in presidential elections where majority of more than 50% is not obtained by any candidate in the first poll.
Sections under target Constitution amendment are s. 63; s. 75; s. 76 and s. 80.
Section 63 (2) of the Constitution is amended, by deleting paragraph (b) of the proviso and substituting therefor the following new paragraph —
“(b) any by-election to fill the vacancy shall be held in the next quarter of the calendar year after the seat of the member becomes vacant, or if the circumstances do not so permit, then as expeditiously as possible, but a by-election shall not be held where a vacancy occurs within twelve months before the holding of a general election.”
3. Section 75 of the Constitution is amended by—
(a) deleting subsection (1) and substituting therefor the following new subsection—
Section 76 of the Constitution is amended—
(a) by deleting the words “Electoral Commission” wherever
“(1) There shall be a commission known as Malawi Electoral Commission which shall consist of a Chairperson who shall be a Judge, nominated in that behalf by the Judicial Service Commission and appointed by the President, and such other members, not being less than four and not more than six, as may be appointed in accordance with an Act of Parliament.”; and
(b) deleting the words “Electoral Commission” wherever they appear in the section and substituting therefor the words “Malawi Electoral Commission”.
they appear in the section and substituting therefor the words “Malawi Electoral Commission”; and
(b) in subsection (2) (b), by deleting the word “five” and substituting therefor the word “ten”.
Section 80 of the Constitution is amended by deleting subsection (2) and substituting therefor the following new subsection—
“(2) The President shall be elected by a majority of more than fifty percent of the valid votes cast through direct, universal and equal suffrage and where a majority of more than fifty percent is not obtained by any candidate in the first poll, a second poll shall be held within sixty days after declaration of the results in the first poll, in accordance with an Act of Parliament.”.
The Electoral Commission is currently working on the review of Constituency and Ward boundary exercise, whose last undertaking that determined the current 193 seats in Parliament was carried out 13 years ago in 1998 — failing to meet the country’s Constitution requirement of after every five years.
The last review that the Electoral Commission undertook to meet the Constitutional requirement was in 2008, 10 years after the 1998 exercise but, according to the pollster, it was not approved by Parliament as per requirement.
MEC is currently in the process of meeting the Constitutional requirement to be ready for the 2025 tripartite elections that will take into consideration eligible voters that would turn 18 on the day of the elections.
The process involved all stakeholders such as political parties, NGOs, district councils, traditional and faith leaders, National Statistical Office (NSO) among others.
The exercise is very important in that that after every five years the pollster should make sure that all constituencies are equal in the numbers of voters by accommodating the eligible ones that would turn 18 on the day of the next elections.
Once completed, the new constituency and ward boundaries shall be presented to Parliament for its debate and approval but Parliament shall not alter the boundaries of any constituency, except upon the recommendation of the Electoral Commission.
If Parliament would reject the boundary review, the Electoral Commission has no more powers to go ahead with it but to use the current constituency and ward boundaries for the next elections.
In the case that Parliament rejects a constituency and ward demarcation review, any interested stakeholders from the general public, that include civil society organisation (CSOs) and MPs, can demand for its reconsideration through MPs as a private member Bill.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :