By Bertha Chirwa – Malawi Exclusive
The Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) is set to hold local government by-elections on 23 August 2022 and has since emphasized that every election is serious business.
MEC Chairperson Justice Dr Chifundo Kachale said this in a statement on July 8, 2022 at the launch of the 23 August by-elections which he indicated will be conducted in Shire Ward in Balaka, Lupembe Ward in Karonga and Wenya Ward in Chitipa district.
“I should state that the Commission is always ready and prepared to hold by elections as soon as a vacancy arises so that people of that ward should continue having representation,” he said.
He adds that the local government by-elections should be treated with the utmost attention and interest as the case with all other elections.
“The Commission is appealing to all those that are eligible to register and also to vote, to participate accordingly. A ward councillor is a very important establishment in our democracy but also the local government system. Councillors represent people at the council where many decisions about development are made,” said Kachale.
The Commission will open centres for two weeks for voter registration and inspection from July 12 to 25 in all the by-elections areas and that the last date for submission of names of representatives and observers for voter registration and inspection of the voter’s register is July 11.
Kachale also said that nomination papers will be available for collection from the respective District Commissioners’ office and Returning Officers from July 10.
The commission has also included August 4 as a day for pre-examination of nomination papers to give room for collection of defects and shortfalls on nomination requirements before the nomination day.
“There have been cases in past elections whereby candidates have been returned on the nomination day due to deficiencies in their nomination papers,” he said.
Nomination of candidates shall take place on August 5 while the official campaign period shall start on July 9 to August 21.
Shire Ward in Balaka fell vacant on October 24, 2021 due to the death of Councillor Patrick Botomani of the United Democratic Front (UDF), Lupembe Ward in Karonga fell vacant on December 11, 2021 due to the death of Councillor, Vincent Kayuni of Alliance for Democracy (AFORD) and Wenya Ward in Chitipa fell vacant because of death of Councillor Pearson Kapira of the Malawi Congress Party on June 13, 2022.