Three candidates in Nkhata Bay Central Constituency and one candidate from Nsanje Lalanje ward have withdrawn their nominations ahead of the June 29, 2021 by-elections.
Confirming the development, Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) Director, Media and Public Relations Officer said the candidates are Justin Prince Banda of United Transformation Movement (UTM), Jolly Derarley Nyimba of Malawi Congress Party (MCP), Helen Gertrude Mwale of Tikonze People's Movement (TPM) and Miraj Maunde who was standing as an independent candidate in Nsanje Lalanje award and said their names have already been removed from the list of contestants.
Mwafulirwa however said the development will not in any way affect preparations for the by-elections as the Commission has not printed the ballot papers yet.
"The withdrawals have come at a time when the commission had not yet started printing the ballot papers, so what it means is that we are just going to delete the names on the ballot paper templates and when the ballot papers come, these names shall not appear on the ballot papers and this will not affect our processes,” said Mwafulirwa.
Mwafulirwa further pointed out that it is within candidates’ rights to withdraw at any point in time in preparation for an election and they do not have to owe the electoral commission any explanation on their action saying what only required is for them to follow proper procedures of withdrawing from the nominations.
Mwafulirwa said the law requires the candidates who are withdrawing from the nominations to vanish the commission with sworn affidavit that they have withdrawn voluntarily for the commission to accept and make an announcement of the withdrawn.
"The commission does not take information from newspapers or public rally pronouncements, so you will find that somebody who has announced a withdrawal at a public rally the commission will still have them as candidates because they have not followed proper channels to inform that they have withdrawn hence argued to follow proper channels for their withdrawn,” said Mwafulirwa.
MEC is expected to hold by-elections in Nkhata Bay Central Constituency following nullification of 2019 parliamentary elections results by the Supreme Court of Appeal, and in Nsanje Lalanje Ward and Blantyre Chikwembere ward following the passing on of councilors