MEC settles ward boundary dispute in Mzuzu

The Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) in Mzuzu has finally settled the two-and-half year-old  dispute over the boundary between Masasa  and Msongwe wardsafter clarifying that all electoral activities in Mzuzu City will abide by the boundaries depicted in maps provided by the  Mzuzu City Council.

Chiume (R) and Mkandawire: Border disspute resolved

At a closed door meeting held  at Mzuzu City Council on Wednesday and attended by the Councilors Judith Chiume of Msongwe Ward and  Masasa Ward’s Yonah Mkandawire, Mzuzu City Council  and MEC officials,  MEC’s Regional Elections Officer  for the North Tenson Singini explained  that MEC had not developed  any new Ward boundaries since 2014.

“ The boundaries on the City Council maps  are the ones that will be used until  the next demarcation exercise takes place. This exercise can only be done  in 2020 once new population statistics on Mzuzu City are released from the 2019 Population and Housing Census,” Singini said.

Earlier, the Masasa Ward  Councilor Yonah Mkandawire explained that the long-standing dispute was  compounded by the traditional leaders who were refusing to abide by the Councils boundaries in  implementing  development activities.

“There is no issue here. The only problem is that the chiefs, especially Chief Abel in Masasa wants the  whole village to  benefit from the MASAF Programme. But only a few selected, vulnerable people can participate in the Programme.

“These Chiefs confuse the village boundaries with ward boundaries and they do not know that here in town, ward boundaries prevail over the village boundaries,” said Mkandawire.

Both Chiume and Mkandawire expressed satisfaction with the response from Singini and agreed to work with MEC to civic educate block leaders and chiefs from Masasa and Msongwe Wards on the proper  ward boundaries.

Mkandawire, the Masasa Councilor, however, asked   MEC to  consider moving the satellite polling centre  for Msongwe Ward which is currently at Masasa Clinic  away, as it is too close to Masasa School which is a polling center for Masasa Ward, in order  to avoid tension between communities from the two Wards that emanates from voting in different Wards at visible range.

At the end of the meeting which lasted approximately two hours,  MEC agreed to consider a proposal by the Msongwe Ward Councilor  Judith Chiume  to relocate  the contentious polling centre at  Masasa Clinic  further into Msongwe at Kaligomba  School.

Singini said that MEC  would  leave issues of the  missing  beneficiaries of MASAF IV Project in the Wards, which had also been disturbed  and seen some bonafide beneficiaries loosingd out on participating in thed ue to the Local Development Fund (LDF)  for the Public Works Programme under MASAF IV Project in 2016 and 2017,  to the City Council, the Councilors and their block leaders.

The MEC Leader  promised to address the challenges caused by the introduction of Masasa Clinic dsatelite Centre before the start of voter registration in  the City.

“The poling centre at  Masasa Clinic was opened for convenience, it will be sad to note that the  same Polling Centre is causing confusion.

“We  will assess the new proposed site for the satellite polling centre. Changing of a polling centre is not easy since the polling centres were are already gazetted. But moving a satellite centre will be considered after we visit the school,” said Singini.

According to Singini, MEC would soon sensitize block leaders and chiefs of Msongwe and Masasa are on the correct boundaries.

And Mzuzu City Council’s Director of Administration Christopher Phiri thanked MEC for the prompt and conclusive intervention in the wrangle.

Monday’s meeting follows a series of meetings  organised by Mzuzu City Council aimed at resolving the ward boundary dispute. At a  meeting held at Mzuzu City Council last week Tuesday, the two  Councilors and the Mzuzu City Council officials agreed  to wait for MEC to  inform all the camps on the actual  boundaries that communities in Masasa and Msongwe should follow.

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Abels Tembo
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Abels Tembo

Mzuzu city constituency and it’s surrounding wards are very confusing when it comes to general elections and during implementation of development activities….villages such Kanthete have suffered lots as candidates scramble for it during campaign as it lies between three constituencies(Nkhata baby north west, Nkhatabay west and Mzuzu city)…..when it comes to development after elections no one wants to take it in as they start to shift it to the other side…hence Kanthete is one of the most lagging behind villages or suburban areas…..there is no piped water, no electricity, no secondary school, healthy centre, etc….It’s population has the highest illiteracy… Read more »

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