MEC Chairman announces By Elections results for December 22 2015

The following is a speech presented by MEC Chairperson Justice Maxon Mbendera SC this afternoon at Mount Soche Hotel in Blantyre:

 

DECLARATION OF RESULTS FOR:

 

  • Zomba Chisi Constituency  
  • Mtope Ward in Mchinji West Constituency and
  • Ngala Ward in Lilongwe Msozi North Constituency

 

 

23rd December, 2015, Blantyre

 

  • My fellow Commissioners,
  • The Chief Elections Officer, Mr Willie Kalonga and your deputy
  • All candidates, representatives of various political parties and candidates
  • Representatives of various Civil Society Organisations
  • Management and staff from MEC secretariat
  • Members of the press
  • Ladies and gentlemen;

 

I welcome you all to this function today where the Commission will announce the official results following the by-elections that were held yesterday, Tuesday, December 22, 2015.

 

The Commission met earlier today to determine the results. However, before I announce the results of the Commission, allow me to give an overview of the journey we have travelled to reach this far.

 

Vacancies

The vacancy in Zomba Chisi Constituency arose because of the death of Hon.  Peter Chizalo Mangulenje on September 23, 2015. In the same way in Mtope Ward, the vacancy arose following the death of Mr John Msumatiza on July 26, 2015, who was councillor for the ward.

 

However, Ngala Ward in Lilongwe Msozi North Constituency fell vacant because the holder, Mr Misheck Khomba, resigned on personal grounds on September 8, 2015. This is the first time a vacancy has risen because of resignation.

 

Pursuant to section 32(2) of the Parliamentary and Presidential Elections Act and Section 23(2) of the Local Government Elections Act, the Commission had to conduct by-elections to fill the vacancies.

 

Preparation for by-elections

This is the third by-elections held after the 20 May, 2014 Tripartite Elections. We launched the by-elections on 21st November in all the three areas. Then followed with registration and voter verification from 26th to 30th November 2015.

 

During this period from the three by electoral areas, the Commission registered 2,368 (1,115 men and 1,253 women) first-time voters bringing the total number of registered voters to 67,557 from 65,189 registered in 2014.

 

Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, the Commission received 10 nomination papers on 1st December 2015 through the Returning Officers.  There were six candidates in Zomba Chisi  Constituency and two candidates in each of the two wards of Mtope and Ngala. At its meeting held on 3 December 2015 the Commission approved all the candidates to contest.

Out of the 10 candidates who presented nomination papers, only 2 were women representing 20 per cent. One woman contested in Zomba Chisi and the other in Ngala Ward. Mtope Ward had no female contestant.  If compared to the last by-elections on August 25 this year, the current situation is retrogressive. Out of the 29 candidates who contested on August 25, a total of 8 were women representing 28 per cent.

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, this is of concern not only to the Commission but to the nation as well.  In the Commission we promote the 50 – 50 campaign in one way or the other.  Activists are pushing for the same.  The Government is advocating for increased number of women.

The irony, however, is that the women themselves are not coming forward to present themselves for candidature.  We call on political parties to come up with deliberate policies and measures to enable as many women as possible to contest. Women should also make themselves available to be elected.

 

Appreciation of stakeholders

  • MEC wishes to extend its appreciation to the Ministry of Finance for releasing money to conduct the by-elections.
  • We continue to commend the National Initiative for Civic Education (NICE) for its continued support in public mobilisation whenever there is a by-election.   
  • We appreciate the faith-based organizations and religious leaders who helped in voter education by reading to their congregations the letters we were sending through them with various voter information.
  • Some more appreciation should go to the Traditional leaders because they mobilized their subjects when we went to hold voter education meetings in their areas.
  • We continue to appreciate the Malawi Police Service for providing security from the start up to the end today.
  • The media for sensitizing the public on these by-elections and publishing correct information on the by elections.
  • District Commissioners, Chief Executives of councils and members of District Election Supervisory Committees who managed the elections on the ground.
  • A fitting word of high and hearty commendation to my fellow Commissioners and the MEC secretariat staff for their dedication, professionalism, commitment and selflessness in managing the electoral process so well – To you I say well done!! Keep it up! 
  • Finally I should also express sincere gratitude and appreciation to all registered voters and Malawians at large for the manifestation of tolerance, peace, trust and spirit of cooperation in their conduct, during the electoral period. I should also in a special way thank all those that turned up for voting.

Declaration of Results

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, this is the moment that we have been waiting for. I will now proceed to declare the results. Voting in the by-elections took place on Tuesday, December 22, 2015 from 6AM to 6PM in 37 centres. We monitored the process and we have come to the conclusion that the conduct of the elections satisfied the tenets of a credible poll and the Commission declares it such.

 

The Commission has, therefore, determined the results as follows:-

  • Mtope Ward, Mchinji West Constituency

Mtope Ward had two candidates. With a total of 26,433 registered voters, 4,569 registered voters turned up for polling.  This represents 17.29% voter turnout.  There were 54 null and void votes.  This represents 1.18%. The results of the voting are as follows:

  1. Auleriano Kalemba (male)- Malawi Congress Party (MCP) 2,444 votes
  2. Benedicto Tsele (male) - Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) 2,071 votes

 

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, on behalf of the Commission I, Justice Maxon Raphael Mbendera, SC now declare Auleriano Kalemba who contested as Malawi Congress Party candidate the winner in the Mtope Ward by-election.

 

  • Ngala Ward, Lilongwe Msozi North Constituency

Ngala Ward had two candidates. With a total of 15,330 registered voters, 2,128 voters turned out for polling.  This represents 13.88% voter turnout.  There were 30 null and void votes.  This represents 1.41% %. The results of the voting are as follows:

1. Master Rodgers Chazama (male) - MCP 1,381votes

2. Regina Sululu (female) - DPP 717 votes

 

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, on behalf of the Commission I, Justice Maxon Raphael Mbendera, SC now declare Master Rodgers Chazama who contested as Malawi Congress Party candidate the  winner in the Ngala Ward by-election.

 

  • Zomba Chisi Constituency

Zomba Chisi had six candidates. With a total of 25,794 registered voters, 9,429 registered voters turned out for polling.  This represents 36.56% voter turnout.  There were 135 null and void votes.  This represents 1.43%. The results of the voting are as follows:

  1. Mark Michael Botomani (male)- DPP 3,019 votes
  2. Stephen Alexious Chikwapula (male) - Independent 107 votes
  3. Dyson R. Chimwala, (male) - Independent 2,792 votes
  4. Asma W. Mponda (male) - People's Party 950 votes
  5. Brazio Namakhuwa (male) - MCP 208 votes
  6. Felistas Mpando Sumani, (female) - Independent 2,218 votes

 

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, on behalf of the Commission I, Justice Maxon Raphael Mbendera, SC now declare Mark Michael Botomani  who contested as Democratic Progressive Party candidate the winner in the Zomba Chisi by-election.

 

In all the three areas we had 67,557 registered voters.  A total of  16,126 voters turned up for polling representing voter turnout of 23.87 percent.  The highest percentage voter turnout was 36.56 registered in Zomba Chisi Constituency while the lowest was 13.88 in Ngala Ward. The voter turnout this time around is less satisfactory if compared to the turn out in the by-elections held on August 25 this year. During the August 25 by-elections, held in five wards, the average voter turnout was 25.87 percent.

 

Our Observations and concerns

  • The low voter turnout trend is of concern to the Commission. I stated last time that there was need for a thorough research to look into the structural causes and we still push for this. We need to go to the electorate and hear what makes them not to show up in good numbers for polling as they do during campaign rallies.
  • The number of political parties contesting in by-elections is dwindling. We have over 50 registered parties but only three contested in these by-elections. During the Tripartite Elections only 19 elections participated. During the October 8, 2014 by-elections 5 political parties participated. During the August 25, 2015 by-elections seven political parties contested. Now the number of parties contesting is at 3. This is raising questions that;  if a party cannot contest in the national elections, cannot take part in by-elections, what elections will they participate in? Do we still need their existence in the political parties register or we should find a formula of deregistering such parties so that we remain with the active ones? There is a debate around this and I hope the scenario here will also contribute to the conclusion of the said discussion.
  •  We have also noted reduced competition in Local Government By-elections. In the August by-elections that took place in five wards, four of the wards had six candidates while one had five candidates. But this time around both wards have two candidates each. This raises questions as to whether we are still valuing the position of councillors or not. We nearly had uncontested election.
  • We have also noted silence from the women empowerment advocates. During the Tripartite Elections there were so many stakeholders rising up to give moral, technical and material support and encouraging women to contest in elections. We have noted no firm action from the activists to support women participation. MEC adopted the cycle approach to elections management and we expect all the stakeholders to follow suit. They should not be active during national elections and then go under like submarines. The by-elections offer an opportunity for the activists to concentrate their efforts and encourage women to participate in elections.
  • There are many civil society groups that were accredited to help with voter education. However, many are not seen to be active during by-elections. We urge them to continue using their accreditation during by-elections. They should also adopt the electoral cycle approach. The same message should be extended to the Development Partners who provide support to the CSOs. Some CSOs want to implement activities during the in-between the ballot period but it is difficult for them to get the funding.

 

Conclusion

On behalf of the Commission, I congratulate the winners and wish them well.  I urge all political parties and candidates to accept the outcome of the election as the expression, reflection and representation of the will of the people.

 

I encourage any party or candidate wishing to challenge the election results to do so in accordance with the Laws of the Republic of Malawi.

 

I also thank everyone present here for coming to witness this ceremony. Your presence is not taken for granted. It is highly regarded.

 

 

May God Bless you All. 

May God bless Mother Malawi. 

I thank you for your attention.

 

Made this 23rd day of December 2015 at Blantyre

 

 

 

 

_________________________________________

Justice Maxon Raphael Mbendera, SC

CHAIRMAN