By Duncan Mlanjira
In preparation for the November 5 by-elections in Lilongwe South Constituency and Matenje Ward in Kasungu North West Constituency the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) is requesting all political parties, aspiring candidates and civil society organizations to submit names of their monitors and observers to the respective MEC district offices.
A communique signed by MEC’s Chief Elections Officer, Sam Alfandika, says names of the aspirants should be submitted using form REG.014 which can be obtained from the Constituency Returning Officer or District Commissioners’ offices or can also be downloaded from MEC website www.mec.org.mw.
“Each political party, candidate or civil society organization shall be allowed a maximum of two monitors or observers per centre at a time for voter registration.
“The list of centres is available from the Constituency Returning Office or the District Commissioner’s office.
“For polling, every political party, independent candidate or civil society organisations shall be allowed up to two monitors per stream and up to four roving monitors per constituency or ward.
“The Commission is urging stakeholders to identify literate monitors with good numeracy and comprehension skills and from the vicinity of the centres so that they can assist in identifying eligible registrants.
The parliamentary election in Lilongwe South Constituency were postponed prior to the May 21 tripartite polls elections following the death of one of the candidates, UTM’s aspirant candidate, Agnes Penemulungu; who died on 29th April.
The Commission had initially planned to conduct a by-election in this constituency on 9th July 2019 but this was put on hold due to lack of funding.
In preparation for this by-election, the Commission shall also hold a stakeholders’ meeting on 3rd October, 2019 in the constituency where it shall provide all information about the election process and release the electoral calendar.
People in Lilongwe South Constituency only voted for a councillor and president during the May 21 polls.
In the run up to the tripartite elections, three other aspirant candidates died — UTM’s candidate Charles Bokosi for Lirangwe Ward in Chiradzulu West constituency on 25th March, 2019 at Adventist Hospital in Blantyre; George Kajumo, an aspiring independent candidate who was duly nominated for election in Blantyre West Constituency and Andrew Justice Mlotha, Malawi Congress Party (MCP) candidate for Nkhotakota Central Constituency candidate.
But in these constituencies, MEC provided that all proceedings in relations to Parliamentary Elections be stopped in pursuant to section 47 of the Parliamentary and Presidential Elections Act so that all candidates who already submitted their nominations and were declared duly nominated after confirming their continued candidature.
The May 21 elections were marred with irregularities that led concerned political parties to seek Constitutional Court’s intervention.
While the court case is on-going, Human Rights Defenders Coalition is demanding the resignation of MEC chairperson Jane Ansah and have been organising nation-wide demonstrations against her.