Law forces MEC to postpone some public hearings

The Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) has postponed its public hearings on ward demarcations for Mangochi Town and Luchenza Municipal Council which were scheduled for next Tuesday, 29th January and Friday, 1st February, respectively.

MEC Chief Elections Officer, Willie Kalonga, said the postponement has come about in order to give more room for consultations on the law prescribing the number of wards which the Commission may determine for the purpose of Local Government Elections for municipalities and towns.

“Public hearing in cities and all the districts including Mangochi will proceed as announced. The Commission will announce when the public hearings for Kasungu and Luchenza Municipalities and Mangochi Town will be conducted,” said Kalonga in a statement issued Saturday.

The chief elections officer said the new dates for the hearings in the said municipalities and Mangochi Town will be announced once the consultations are concluded.

Kalonga: More consultations
Kalonga: More consultations

Meanwhile, MEC spokesperson Sangwani Mwafulirwa has said the public hearing for Mangochi Boma will still proceed on Monday, January 28, as scheduled including all other areas as planned.

Apart from Mangochi, the electoral body will next week also conduct public hearings in Phalombe and Nkhotakota (January 28), Ntchisi and Mulanje (January 30), and Zomba on January 31st.

And on 1st February, MEC officials will conduct the meetings in Zomba city and Dowa district.

The commission started conducting the public hearings a few weeks ago to get views from the public and stakeholders on new ward boundaries that were produced following the Electoral Commission Amendment Bill 2000 ahead of the 2014 Tripartite Elections.

For the purposes of Local Government Elections, the law prescribes that the Commission may only determine two wards per each constituency.

Under the law, MEC started the ward re-demarcation exercise in 2010 but did not finish after former President Bingu wa Mutharika sealed its offices.

However, the re-demarcation of the wards has reduced the total number of wards across the whole country from the previous 861 to 444.

So far, MEC officials have been to a number of districts like Chikhwawa, Blantyre, Salima, Chitipa, Nsanje, Kasungu, Rumphi and Blantyre City.

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