By Duncan Mlanjira
By close of business on Wednesday, January 9, 2019, the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) had collected nomination papers from aspiring candidates for the May 21, 2019 presidential elections.
The candidates under party ticket are the incumbent, Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP); Dr Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera, Malawi Congress Party; Dr Saulos Klaus Chilima (UTM); Atupele Austin Muluzi of the United Democratic Front (UDF); Dr Joyce Hilda Mtila Banda of the People’s Party (PP); Dr Cassim Chilumpha of Tikonze Peoples Movement (TPM); Chimbuna Belekiah, United Independence Party (UIP); Dr Chris Daza of the Democratic Peoples Congress (DEPECO) and Peter Kuwani of Mbakuwaku Movement for Development (MMD).
The independent presidential candidates are Henry Jailos Mbewe, Smart Swira, Pastor Dr Baxter Boyd Natulu and Ras Chikomeni David Chirwa.
MEC started the process of presenting nomination papers to aspiring candidates for the presidency, Member of Parliament and Local Government from January 3 and the candidates are expected to submit the papers from February 4-8.
All presidential candidates, party or independent are collecting their nomination papers from the Chief Elections Officer at MEC head office and for all aspiring for a seat in the august House and will contest on political party tickets, are getting their nomination papers through their party Secretaries General or any officer designated to do so.
All independent candidates for Parliamentary elections are collecting theirs from their respective Constituency Returning Officers (CROs), District Commissioners or Chief Executives.
Parliamentary and Local Government candidates will submit their papers to their respective Constituency Returning Officers while presidential candidates will submit their nomination papers to the Malawi Electoral Commission at the Chichiri International Conference Centre (COMESA) Hall.
MEC also stressed that every candidate is encouraged to take their nomination papers for pre-inspection from the day they collect the papers up to the time before presenting the nomination papers.
“The Parliamentary and Local Government aspirants can consult their Constituency Returning Officers, District Elections Clerk, District Commissioners or Chief Executives of the councils to pre-inspect the nomination papers.
“For presidential aspirants, the nomination paper has to be pre-examined by the MEC head office. This will avoid unnecessary inconveniences on the submission day arising from rejection of the nomination papers due to improper completion,” MEC Chairperson Jane Ansah had said on January 3.
She also reminded the aspiring candidates that nomination fees should be deposited with any branch of the FDH Bank before presentation of nomination paper by the candidate and that any cheque that bounces will lead to disqualification of the candidates.
The nomination fees are K2 million for Presidential candidates (both men and women); K500,000 and K250,000 for Parliamentary male and female candidates respectively; K375,000 for the youth and K250,000 for people with disabilities.
For the Local Government Elections, men will pay K40,000; women K20,000, the youth K30,000 and people with disabilities K20,000.
The final phase of the voter verification exercise for the May 2019 tripartite elections ended on Wednesday, January 9, 2019 but the public can continue to verify their personal details using the SMS services up to January 31, 2019.
In a statement, Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) is encouraging registered voters to check the correctness of their registration details by dialing *2019# on TNM and Airtel networks and follow instructions.
“This facility is free and one handset can be used by more than one person to verify voter registration details. Should you need further information or clarification, please contact our Director of Media and Public Relations, Mr Sangwani Mwafulirwa on 0999274304 or email firstname.lastname@example.org,” said the statement signed by Sam Alfandika, the Chief Elections Officer.
The last phase covered all centres in Chitipa, Karonga, Rumphi Nkhata Bay, Likoma, Mzuzu City and Mzimba.
The exercise first started with centres in Kasungu, Nkhotakota, Ntchisi, Dowa, Salima, Mchinji and Dedza districts and Kasungu Municipality that closed on December 14 and the second was for Lilongwe, Ntcheu, Blantyre, Mwanza, Neno, Nsanje and Chikwawa districts and also cities of Lilongwe and Blantyre and closed on December 22.
Phase 3 was from December 26 to 30 covering Mangochi, Mangochi Town, Balaka, Machinga, Zomba, Zomba City, Chiradzulu, Thyolo, Luchenza Municipality, Phalombe and Mulanje.