The Malawi Electoral Commission on Thursday, 10 November 2022 met with the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs in Lilongwe for a formal handover of the report for the boundary review process.
Speaking during the meeting, Commissioner Richard Chapweteka said the aim of the meeting was to seek the indulgence of the minister to present the boundary review report to the National Assembly on behalf of the Commission and seek the confirmation of the constituency boundaries.
The Commissioner said during an interface with the Business Committee of Parliament, the Commission was guided that in accordance with the Parliamentary Standing Orders and Procedures, presentation of papers to the National Assembly is done through a Minister or Member of Parliament.
“As you are aware, Hon Minister, it is a requirement of the Constitution of the Republic of Malawi that the National Assembly should confirm all determinations of the Commission relating to the delimitation of constituency boundaries.
“This meeting is, therefore, held to formally present the report to you and to formally request that you should present the report to the National Assembly on behalf of the Commission,” he said.
In his remarks, Justice Minister, Hon Titus Mvalo assured the Commission that he would ensure that the report is presented in the National Assembly for confirmation during the November 2022 sitting.
He alluded to the fact that the election calendar stands to suffer in the event that the National Assembly fails to confirm the boundaries.
Confirmation of constituency boundaries is a requirement of Section 76 (5) (b) of the Constitution which stipulates that the National Assembly shall confirm all determinations by the Commission with regard to the drawing up of constituency boundaries but may not alter the boundaries of any constituency, except upon the recommendation of the Commission.
This exercise has been implemented from April 2021 to July 2022. During the said period, the Commission held public awareness meetings, public consultations and public hearings.
In accordance with section 8 (1) (a) of the Electoral Commission Act, the Commission has the power to determine the number of constituencies and wards for the purposes of elections.
For the purposes of the 2025 elections, it has been determined by the Commission that the number of constituencies shall be 229, up from 193 and the wards shall be 509, up from 462. The maps and their respective boundary descriptions can be accessed on the Commission’s website at https://www.demarcation.mec.org.mw.
Once confirmed by the National Assembly the Commission shall publish the new boundary descriptions in the Gazette and shall immediately thereafter, embark on a national wide exercise to establish registration and polling centres.
During this exercise, the public will have an opportunity to suggest new places to be considered for establishment as centres in line with the new boundaries and the law.