Official campaign period for December 22 by-elections

The Commission yesterday received nomination papers from candidates who intend to contest in the December 22 by-elections. The by-elections will take place in Zomba Chisi Constituency, Mtope ward in Mchinji West Constituency and Ngala Ward in Lilongwe Msozi North Constituency.

Today marks the start of the official campaign in all the three areas. This period shall end at 6am on December 20, 2015.

The Campaign period is the time whereby candidates go to the electorate to market themselves so that they can be voted into office come the polling day.

All candidates signed the Electoral Code of Conduct for Political Parties and Candidates which guides on how candidates can conduct free, fair and credible campaign.  It is the anticipation of the Commission and all stakeholders that the candidates will adhere to the provisions of the code of conduct.

The campaign period is also regulated by the Parliamentary and Presidential Elections Act and the Local Government Elections Act. The laws provide the following as electoral offences in relation to campaign:

  1. holding of a public meeting without seeking permission  from campaigning without notifying the District Commissioner in writing with a copy to the officer in-charge of the Police.
  2. preventing the holding, or interrupting the proceedings of a public meeting that has been duly authorised.
  3. campaigning or causing another person to campaign within forty-eight hours before opening of the poll on the first polling day. The official campaign period for the May 20 Tripartite Elections ends on May 18, 2014 at 6:00AM. This means anyone who shall campaign after that period shall be committing an offence.
  4. denying any political party equal treatment with any other political party;
  5. destroying, defacing, tearing or in any manner causing to be totally or partially useless or illegible any campaign material displayed in an authorized place or space or superimposing thereon any other material concealing the earlier material.
  6. is entrusted, by virtue of his office or functions, with displaying or depositing in an authorized place or space any campaign material, fails to display or deposit such campaign material or misplaces, steals, removes or destroys such material;
  7. Using language which is inflammatory, defamatory or insulting or which constitutes incitement to public disorder, insurrection, hate, violence or war”.

In past by-elections, there have been no record of violence or intimidation. It is the anticipation of the Commission that all political leaders will conduct in a manner that will sustain this record.

Also as the candidates and their parties go to campaign, the Commission expects them to help educating and encouraging their followers on the importance of turning up for voting. This will help improve on the statistics as recorded in part by-elections.