Machinga electorates questions MEC’s new re-demarcation maps

Some local leaders in Machinga district are faulting Malawi Electoral Commission for failure to involve them during the initial stages of constituency and ward demarcation.

A snapshot over the weekend has shown local leaders being in disagreement with the way the demarcation process has been done in most of their areas as most of them are asking the commission to revert to the old ones.

In an interview Village head Chifuna in the area of Traditional Authority Nyambi said the new demarcations lack their insight as they were not involved during the initial exercise and hence not accepting the changes.

He said the new map has failed to understand and include geographical features which will, in turn, affect the distribution of development once such maps are gazetted.

Malawi Electoral Commission
Machinga District MEC official explaining the maps in the area of traditional authority Chiwalo

“We are not happy with the way the demarcation process has been done. I am sure that by the time they started the process, they could have sourced our views. We cannot accept to divide us in any way. It is better we revert to the old maps, not the new ones as it is a source of confusion.

“We are taking up the issue with Malawi Electoral Commission so that they address our issues before they gazette the maps as we are not happy with the way the demarcation of constituency and wards has been done," he said.

During another interface meeting with district MEC officials in the area of Traditional Authority Chiwalo in Machinga Central Constituency participants said they are not happy with their yet-to-be-new constituency map.

Group village head Chiwalo noted that the maps are not a true reflection of the electorates’ will.

“For instance, traditional authorities Chiwalo and Kapoloma are combined in the old constituency map. This time around with the proposed map, the two have been detached and combined with other traditional authorities. As electorates, we were not consulted as we could not allow that to happen.

“Even if they say they were working on the figures, detaching and the combinations have not changed anything in terms of the figures, only confusing us as electorates. Therefore, we are not happy with the maps under viewing. MEC needed more time to consult us before coming up with the demarcation maps,” said the traditional leader.

In an interview on Monday MEC Director of Media and Public Relations Sangwani Mwafulirwa said all the grievances regarding the exercise should be addressed to the commission to look into them.

Mwafulirwa: all grievances should be addressed to the Commission

“The commission is still receiving feedback up to March 24, so whatever they want the commission to consider, they should bring to the attention of the commission by writing and sending them to the commission or dropping them at the district councils.

“In April and May, the commission will go to all the councils to meet stakeholders and discuss face to face what was noticed in the maps so that consensus is reached at council level,” said Mwafulirwa.