The Malawi Electoral Commission has concluded public consultations with political parties as a part of the review process for constituency and ward boundaries. The last series of the meetings were held from 28 June to 1 July, 2022 with the 13 registered political parties.
The first to meet with the Commission was the UTM on 28 June and it was led by its party and State Vice-president, Right Honourable Dr Saulos Klaus Chilima.
On the morning of 29June 2022, the Commission held meetings with the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) delegation led by Vice-president (Eastern Region) Hon Bright Msaka, SC. In the afternoon the commission interacted with a delegation from the United Democratic Front (UDF) led by Acting Party President, Hon Lillian Patel.
The Peoples Party (PP), led by party vice-president, Hon Beatrice Mwale met the Commission on 30th June 2022 and was immediately followed by the Alliance for Democracy (Aford) led by party leader, Hon Enoch Chihana.
On the afternoon of the same day, the Commission held a group meeting with presidents and leaders of seven registered political parties with no representation in Parliament.
The parties are Mbakuwaku Movement for Development (MMD), Umodzi Party, Peoples Transformation Party (Petra), Assembly for Democracy and Development (ADD), Malawi Forum for Unity and Development (Mafunde) Party, Freedom Party (FP) and Peoples Progressive Movement (PPM).
On 1 July 2022 the Commission concluded the engagements with political parties with an interaction with the leadership of the Malawi Congress Party led by Party and State President, His Excellency, Dr Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera.
During the meetings, the Commission provided a platform for the parties to give their final feedback on the preliminary maps that were issued by the Commission.
The Commission also highlighted to the political parties’ issues that have been arising from the boundary review process, which started in May 2021, and how they have been addressed like whether to increase or decrease the number of constituencies.
“The Commission is aware of the issues which were raised and continue to be raised by stakeholders concerning whether the country should be taking the route of increasing number of seats from the current 193.
“No single council is ready to lose a constituency. The Commission has to reconcile the disconnect between the demand of the stakeholders on the ground for increased seats, and other stakeholders advocating for reduced number of MPs,” read part of a presentation by MEC Chairman, Justice Dr Chifundo Kachale to the parties.
The parties all agreed with a law reform proposal by the Commission to increase the interval for boundary review from five to 10 years.
The meetings with the parties were preceded by district public hearings that were organized by the Commission in all the councils in the country to get feedback from all electoral stakeholders on the preliminary maps and boundaries.
Meanwhile, the Commission is preparing to submit its final report to the Parliament in mid-August, 2022.