The Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) says the review of constituency and ward boundaries the Commission is intending to conduct will address the anomalies that have crept in the past 23 years.
MEC Chairperson Dr. Chifundo Kachale disclosed that the anomalies created a situation whereby some constituencies have more than 10 times eligible voters than others contrary to section 76 (2) (a) of the Constitution.
Kachale made the remarks in Lilongwe on Thursday during an interface with the media on the review process.
He said the Constitution provides that the determination of constituency boundaries must ensure that constituencies contain approximately equal numbers of voters eligible to vote subject only to population density, ease of communication and existing administrative areas.
“This year, the Commission is ready and set to conduct this comprehensive exercise to ensure that the constituencies and ward boundaries conform with the provisions of the Constitution of the Republic of Malawi. This exercise is very important, yet it has been outstanding for so long. The last comprehensive exercise was in 1998 when new constituencies were created, and some existing boundaries reviewed,” he said.
But Kachale was quick to admit the sensitivity of the process as perceptions and accusations of gerrymandering are bound to come from political players.
However, he assured that the Commission will follow the law to ensure fairness and impartiality.
“The Commission will take all precautionary measures to ensure that all stakeholders are given adequate information of the process. To that effect, the Commission started with meeting presidents of political parties and their executive members. The Commission also engaged the civil society organisations, traditional leaders, government departments and agencies, members of Parliament and the academia,” he said.
Kachale stated that the Commission does not anticipate that any council will lose an existing constituency from this exercise, but gaining additional ones in some instances.
He asked media houses to help the Commission in relaying correction information and messages on the exercise.