MEC calls for a free and fair by-election
The Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) has challenged its officials taking part in the forthcoming June 29 by-elections in Nkhata Bay Central Constituency to be non-partisan for fair and free elections.
The calls came Thursday morning when the electoral body held a District Elections Supervisory Team (DEST) with members and other electoral stakeholders participating in the by-election at Nkhata Bay District Council as part of the preparations for the by-elections.
Speaking during the DEST orientation MEC Commissioner, Richard Chapweteka, said MEC has put everything in place to deliver a free, fair and credible fresh election in Nkhata Bay Central Constituency.
Chapweteka urged all the officers to remain impartial and non-partisan for credibility of the elections. According to Chapweteka, MEC will always draw a lesson from last year's fresh presidential polls.
''The June 23, Fresh Presidential Election, set a high standard in the country. As MEC, we would like to deliver nothing less in this and other future elections. We don’t expect anything more than impartiality because we are in a self-governing society and if our staff will be partial, that undermines the will of the people so that’s why we emphasized that they should be subjective to achieve successful polls for the by-election.”
“The electorate have the right to elect a candidate of their choice as the democracy demands and our staff are being encouraged to be professional and avoid interfering with the people’s choice through taking sides which might compromise the election process,” said Commissioner Chapweteka.
Chapweteka further said the commission has not received any reports of violence since preparations for the polls began.
''Since preparations for this poll started, there have been no reports of violence, a clear indication that all players in this constituency have been freely operating,'' added Commissioner Chapweteka.
Commissioner Chapweteka also said the by-elections are not aimed at testing the credibility of the new commission but rather maintaining the good standards when it comes to elections and reaching the higher levels of the commission’s performance.
“It’s not about testing the credibility of the new commission but maintaining the acceptable standards that are expected when it comes to running elections. That issue does not arise because the last Fresh Presidential election was chaired by the same commissioner who will also preside over the current one and we don’t expect anything different. We just have to do better,” he said.
The Nkhata Bay Central parliamentary seat fell vacant after the Supreme Court of Appeal nullified the 2019 parliamentary result for the constituency due to electoral irregularities.
Registered voters from Nkhata Bay Central Constituency, Nsanje Lalanje Ward and Blantyre Chikwembere ward are expected to go to polls on 29 June, 2021.