After meeting age-voting youths, Nsanje East Bank Traditional Authority (T/A) Mlolo, dated all the aspiring candidates of all parties in her area the following day where she briefed them of what she discussed with the youths.
Held at Fatima School premises under the theme ‘Dolo Amavota’ (a champions makes sure votes), had encouraged the youths to go and utilize their large numbers by voting wisely on May 21.
She urged the youths to attend all political debates and participate in asking the aspirants questions as to what they shall do for them as youths as well as to their communities as a whole.
The chief also advised them to take a leading role in making sure that they officially document the campaign benchmarks that the politicians will have pledged and add on to what they want them to do for them.
She asked them that before the polling day, after everything has been documented, they should demand the aspiring MP or Councillor to sign for it as an official agreement that this is their campaign benchmarks that need to be fulfilled once voted into office.
“Yesterday [Friday] I had a meeting with the aspiring candidates where I told them what I discussed with the youths and I told them that they should not be surprised to see the youths demanding them to sign the campaign pledges.
“I emphasized that this will help in developing the area as those elected into power will utilize the resources for the intended purposes and it will encourage transparency and accountability.
“This is for the interest of the elected, the youth themselves and the whole area. I reminded them that the role and conduct of traditional chiefs, according to the Code of Conduct they signed in 2018 with Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC), among others, demands that chiefs — just like any public servant — should not show their political allegiances even though they have the right to vote for a party of their choice.
“And also that Chiefs (Paramounts, Snr T/A’s, T/A’s, SubT/A’s, Snr Group Village Heads and Village Heads) and those acting in their capacity are not allowed to force people on who they should vote for but rather mobilise all subjects and encourage them to attend all party rallies and other political activities in the area regardless of everything so that they listen to their Manifesto’s in order to choose for themselves whom they want to vote for come May 21.
“The politicians present were also informed that it is the duty of chiefs under the Electoral Laws to ensure that the elections are held freely, fairly and peacefully. I therefore informed the aspiring candidates not to force the chiefs to do the opposite but rather that their duty should be to welcome and ask them to speak what they have for their subjects, not in an intimidating manner or use provocative language or asking people to vote based on tribe.”
She also shared with the politicians the copy of the chiefs’ Code of Conduct and Ethics who had asked for the copy so that they are able to report the chief who is doing anything contrary to this to the appropriate authorities.
MEC made available the Code of Conduct and Ethics to all chiefs in 2018, hence her being aware of the electoral process.
During the meeting, the aspirants voiced out some of the challenges they are facing such as the case of some unnamed chiefs who are demanding payment when they visit them seeking for approval to attend rallies.
They also complained that members of the community police are not covering all rallies and that they are operate as personal bodyguards to other party aspirants.
T/A Mlolo condemned the alleged practice by the chiefs of demanding payment and pleaded with the aspiring candidates not to copy this behavior because it’s not accepted. She thus promised them to talk to her fellow chiefs to refrain from such bad behavior.
She further told the aspirants that she will talk to the Police in the area alongside Community Policing at T/A level on the need to always ensure that they provide security for all rallies.
The chief commended the aspirants for keeping peace and further asked them to maintain the status quo up to the polls day. She wished them all the best of luck during the campaign period and asked them to accept the results in a free and fair manner.
In attendance were three MP candidates — representing UTM, MCP and an independent and there were two a councillors — representing UTM, MCP and UDF.
During her meeting with the youths on Friday, T/A Mlolo distributed T/shirts, caps and banners sponsored by Young African Leaders Initiative and posters and fliers from MEC and National Initiative for Civic Education (NICE) Public Trust.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :