MEC predicts 11 million ‘eligible voters’ in 2025, updates on boundaries review process

The Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) has announced that the total estimate for eligible voters in 2025 is 10,957,490 voters, the Commission’s Chairperson Justice Dr. Chifundo Kachale made the announcement on Friday, 24 September 2021 during a press briefing held at Blue Waters Hotel in Salima.

He said that since the elections will be in September 2025, the Commission has obtained data projecting how many eligible voters will be in every area up to smallest enumeration level.

MEC Press Conference

Central region is expected to have the highest number of voters estimated at 4,827,703, with Lilongwe Rural having the highest number of eligible voters in the region estimated at 1,043,270.

Southern region has 4,706,285 projected eligible voters with Mangochi having the highest number at 610,780.

In the Northern region, MEC is projecting 1,423,502 with Mzimba having the highest share of 575,796 projected ‘eligible voters’.

National quotient

According to the MEC Chairperson, the national quotient is the number of estimated voters that are expected to be in each constituency.

“This number has been obtained by dividing total number of projected voters eligible to register by the current number of constituencies,” said Justice Kachale, adding that therefore, the national quotient is 56,775.

As the Commission a reviews the number of constituencies in the country, it will use the total number of eligible voters for each district as provided to determine the number of constituencies in each district by dividing the projected total number of voters eligible to register by the national quotient to get the number of constituencies.

According to Justice Kachale, the Commission will not use “registered voters” and “total population”. The law provides that we should use population of ELIGIBLE VOTERS. In this case, that is the number of people that will be 18 and above by September 2025, he explained.

However, according to Justice Kachale, it is inevitable that there will be remainders.

“Where the remainder is more than 50 percent of the national quotient, that will be considered as a full constituency and the number of constituencies will be adjusted upwards by one on account of the remainder. Where the remainder is less than 50 percent of the national quotient, that will be split among the constituencies and will not be taken as a full constituency.

“In all cases where new councils have been created, they will be considered as new constituencies without considering the number of people eligible to register. The creation of the constituency will not necessarily mean that the number of constituencies in that district will increase,” he said.

Justice Kachale said that it is expected that use of the aforementioned formula will reduce perceptions or actual bias and arbitrariness in the process. He said the law has left it to the discretion of the Commission to determine the number of constituencies, to reduce or increase, and that there is neither minimum nor maximum numbers of Constituencies set by the law.

According to the Chair, Section 76(2)(a) of the Constitution and Section 8(a) and (c) of the Electoral Commission Act give powers to the Commission to determine the number and boundaries of constituencies and wards for purposes of elections. In the case of constituencies, the paramount consideration is equitable representation in parliament, he said.

He explained that the Commission has the responsibility of ensuring that “constituencies contain approximately equal number of voters eligible to register”.

“The Commission will use well-articulated formula to show how the factors provided under the Constitution will be applied in the determination and review of constituency and ward boundaries,” said the Chairperson.

According to Justice Kachale, MEC has set up Constituency and Ward Boundaries Review Committees (CWBRC) in every council to coordinate the review of boundaries process at that level. The committee shall be under the direct supervision of the Commission, and shall be expected to responsible for drawing boundary scenarios, drawing preliminary constituency boundaries and coming up with boundary descriptions on enumeration maps in the office, verifying boundary descriptions in the field, reviewing constituency and ward boundaries in accordance with submissions from stakeholders to the Commission, and submitting district reports and offer recommendations to the Commission on how electoral divisions should look like. District Commissioner or Chief Executive Officer will be the Chairperson of the Committee.

The Committees will be trained by the Commission to prepare them for the task, and to ensure that they meet the expectation of the Commission and to discharge their tasks professionally.
“Let me emphasize that the Commission retains the authority over the implementation of the boundary review activities. The district committees will work on delegated authority of the Commission to carryout tasks assigned to them. The Committees are expected to be impartial, apolitical, and professional and demonstrate all the core values of the Commission throughout the process,” said Justice Kachale.

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