MEC sets November 10 for five by-elections

Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) chairperson Justice Chifundo Kachale has announced that the electoral body will conduct by-elections in five constituencies on November 10 in line with the Presidential and Parliamentary Elections (PPE) Act provisions.

Kachale: Announces date fr by-elections  

Kachale said three of the constituencies fell vacant because the court nullified their 2019 election results. One constituency fell vacant due to resignation while the last one, it is because of death of its Member of Parliament.

The  by-elections will be held in Mangochi West which fell vacant on December 20 2019; Mangochi North East which fell vacant on June 8 2020; and Phalombe North which fell vacant on June 22 2020 – all after court nullification of the May 21 2019 election results.

Lilongwe North West fell vacant on May 8 2020 following the resignation of President Lazarus Chakwera prior to June 23 Fresh Presidential Election and later Karonga Central fell vacant on July 16 2020 following the death of legislator Cornelious Mwalwanda.

In his address, Kachale said the official campaign period shall start on 10th September 2020 and shall end at 06.00AM on 8th November, 2020.

“Any campaign activity conducted after this period is illegal and the Commission will not hesitate to take necessary measures against those who indulge in such violations,” he said.

Kachale also said all the processes in the by-elections will be done under strict observation of Covid-19 preventative measures.

“All people attending rallies are also reminded that it is their personal responsibility to ensure that they take precautionary measures to protect themselves by wearing face masks, standing at a distance and washing their hands while attending campaign activities,” he said.

MEC is also urging all candidates, political parties and their followers to refrain from inflammatory language because this stirs violence and infringes on other people’s rights to campaign freely.

“Candidates should practice issue-based campaign and express themselves within the precinct of law. People will not vote for you for using improper language during elections but your candid manifesto.

According to the calendar for the by-elections, MEC will open centres for two weeks for registration and voter verification from 14 to 27th September, 2020 in all the five constituencies.

The Commission will register those who are 18 and above or will attain the voting age by the last date of voter registration for these by- elections which is 27th September, 2020.

When going for registration, all new registrants are encouraged to take their national IDs. Those that have not registered for the national ID should do so now at the District Commissioner’s office and designated post offices.

“When coming to register as a voter they should bring the slip they will be given as proof of national registration. All those that registered for the 2019 Tripartite Elections, whether they voted or not, they need not to register again but rather go and verify their names in the voters’ register from 14 to 27th September, 2020. No transfers will be accepted,” said Kachale.

All registered voters in these five constituencies who lost their voter certificates should go to the centre where they registered to get a duplicate certificate that will enable them to vote on 10th November, 2020.

Meanwhile, Kachale  has encouraged women to take part in the by-elections by contesting as candidates.

He said MEC has still maintained 50 percent lower nomination fees for women candidates as one way of encouraging their participation in elections.

“I urge political parties to take affirmative steps to support the candidature of women,” he said.

Kachale said since May 2019, MEC has conducted three by-elections but in all these areas there has never been a female candidate.

He said by-elections offer an opportunity to improve the statistics regarding women representation.

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