Following revelations that stakeholders had challenges reading the allocation of the new number of constituencies (parliamentary seats), the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) has made a number of clarifications on how it arrived at its decision to create the 35 additional constituencies.
According to MEC, the 2021 constituency boundary re-demarcation is the first comprehensive constituency boundary review since 1998; hence, the big changes that have been observed.
MEC Director of Media and Public Relations, Sangwani Mwafulirwa, clarified that the number of constituencies determined is not based on current constituencies in each council, but the projected number of eligible voters (people that will be 18 years and above) in 2025 and other factors such as population density, ease of communication, geographical features and administrative boundaries.
“Here is a specific example. In Nkhotakota, the council has been allocated 1 (one) additional constituency to the 4 (four) constituencies determined by consideration of population of voters eligible to register to vote and land size. This decision was made on account of ensuring ease of communication as well as the topographical layout of parts of the council. Therefore, the final determined number of constituencies for the Council is 5 (five),” said Mwafulirwa.
He emphasized that there is no reference in the report to the current number of constituencies for each council.
Mwafulirwa said in this case, the four constituencies were arrived at after considering the projected population of eligible voters by 2025 and land size of the district.
However, considering the topographical layout of the district and ease of communication the Commission added one constituency to make the total number to be 5. In other councils, the Commission has considered other factors as provided in the Constitution, which include ease of communication, geographical features, administrative boundaries.
“The Commission has determined the number of constituencies for each council to be applicable in the 2025 general elections. It has not reviewed or drawn the boundaries of the constituencies yet. This will be the next exercise to be done through the District Boundary Review Committees. Based on the determination of the Commission, the Boundary Review Committees will go on the ground to establish the actual boundaries in consultation with local leaders. They are going to review all the boundaries and draw fresh boundaries in accordance with the determination of the Commission and the provision of the law,” reads the statement Mwafulirwa issued on behalf of the pollster.
He added that when the Boundary Review Committees have drawn the new boundaries, the Commission will print new preliminary maps and distribute them to all councils and paste them in public places for public viewing.
He said after public viewing, the Commission will go to all the councils to conduct public hearings on the preliminary maps where stakeholders will be invited.
Mwafulirwa further states that the Commission will meet to review and consider the feedback from the public hearings.
“Then the Commission will hold a meeting with Members of Parliament to present to them the final maps for the new constituencies. This meeting will provide an opportunity for the MPs to seek any clarification from the Commission. After that the Commission will make a formal submission of its report to the National Assembly for adoption,” he said, adding that the current boundaries of 193 constituencies will remain intact until Parliament shall be dissolved in 2025.
As for new wards, Mwafulirwa stated that the creation of a new constituency outside a city, municipal and town council will attract creation of a maximum of two new wards.
For cities, municipalities and towns, the total maximum number of wards is regulated by law and that has not changed, he said.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :