Finance minister Felix Mlusu has said Members of parliament during a budget cluster meeting recommended that K500 million which was earmarked for Constituency demarcation exercise has been removed from the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) budget allocation and instead given to Independent Complaints Commission to investigate complaints by the public against Malawi Police Service and the Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC).
The cluster system gives members a chance to ask government officials questions in line with what has been presented in the budget.
Mlusu told parliament that Independent Complaints Commission has been allocated K350 million to kick-start its operations while the MHRC has been allocated an additional K150 million for the operationalisation of Access to Information Act (ATI) and Gender Equality Act.
Section 128 of the Police Act established the Independent Complaints Commission to receive and investigate complaints by the public against police officers and the service in general.
In Section 131, the Act stresses that the commission should be independent and that no organ of the State and no member or an employee of an organ of the State must interfere with its work.
Mlusu however clarified that this is not to undermine plans to demarcate large constituencies which are depriving people of development and affecting democracy.
“Government still takes constituency demarcation exercise to be very important. It is therefore, my expectation that MEC will come up with a concrete work plan on this exercise so that the work can be started in 2021/22 financial year,” he said.
The call to have big constituencies split have been made by various stakeholders, including President Lazarus Chakwera and Vice-President Saulos Chilima during the May 2019 Tripartite Elections campaign.
At the time, Chilima said some constituencies were too big which affects development, adding such need to be split.
And in 2017, various stakeholders called for the splitting of constituencies that are deemed big in terms of area and population size. MEC earlier said it would start the exercise in 2020.
University of Livingstonia political scientist George Phiri said splitting of big constituencies will ensure that people are represented but also that development flourishes to impact on lives of people.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :