The Malawi Electoral Commission on Thursday, 4th November, 2021 engaged the leadership of the Public Affairs Committee (PAC) and the Centre for Multiparty Democracy (CMD) at Crossroads Hotel in Lilongwe regarding the determination on the number of constituencies for the 2025 elections.
Speaking during the meeting, MEC Chairman, Justice Dr. Chifundo Kachale highlighted that the Commission was conducting the boundary review exercise as it is one of its legal mandates according to Section 76 (2) (a) and (b) of the Constitution.
The MEC Chairman read a communique whic among others highlighted the formula that the Commission used in coming up with the new number of constituencies per council. The MEC Chairman explained that the constituency and Ward Boundary Review Committees(CWBRC) across the whole country would be deployed physically (and technologically) ascertain what the new boundaries would look like.
In closing, Justice Dr. Kachale said MEC as a body discharging a constitutional function, public discussion and criticism of the Commission’s work is inevitable, therefore, the Commission will welcome aspect of a healthy democratic accountability matrix.
He further said the Commission will initiate direct engagement with everyone at an appropriate stage before we finalize the assignment.
In response, Vice Chairperson of the CMD Board, Elias Wakuda Kamanga appreciated MEC’s diligence in actively engaging CMD throughout the entire exercise.
Honorable Kamanga noted that their grouping was eager to get as much knowledge as possible so that they could be agents of spreading correct information to the electorate.
Speaking on behalf of the Public Affairs Committee, the board’s Vice-chairperson, Brother Osman Karim reiterated Kamanga’s remarks in appreciating the value of MEC’s continuous engagement of stakeholders, and hailed MEC for applying objective factors and reducing attention to subjective factors during the exercise.
The PAC Vice-Chairperson urged politicians and the citizenry to be cautious on sacrificing the values of democratic culture on the altar of economic factors.
“The financial burden that the new MPs will bring is appreciated, just like it was at the dawn of democracy, but people have come to accept democracy and it thrives.
“Financial constrains should not outweigh the cost of fair representation. The question should rather be how do we make more finances available? How do we let our democracy thrive?” he reasoned.
As PAC, Brother Karim said they will continue observing the dialogue as it goes to Parliament and pledged to ask the august House to weigh more on democratic requirements other than financial constraints.
The interface was attended by CMD members from various political parties among them: UDF, AFORD, DPP, UTM, MCP and PP. PAC was also represented by clergy from various denominations.
The Commission will continue engaging various stakeholders as the process of reviewing wards and constituency boundaries continue.