Nkhotakota, September 27, MANA: Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) has launched the Nkhotakota North — East Constituency by-election with a call to all political stakeholders to maintain peace.
Speaking when she launched the by-elections on Saturday, MEC`s Chairperson for Electoral Services, Commissioner Olivia Mchaju Liwewe, said all contesting candidates should ensure peace during the entire process.
She appealed to political parties to consider supporting women and people with disabilities. She said that of the three vacant constituencies, two were held by women.
“All stakeholders should consider women, people with physical disabilities and the youth to participate in the election by encouraging them to contest for the Parliamentary seats,” she said.
Liwewe said there was need for civic education among the electorate to avoid voter apathy. She observed that many people do not turn up to vote during by-elections.
According to Liwewe, the electoral commission had agreed with the Presidential Taskforce on COVID-19 to set-up vaccination centres in the constituencies so that more people are accorded chance to be vaccinated.
Concurring with Liwewe, Commissioner, Francis Kasaila asked Nkhotakota District Elections Supervisory Team (DEST) to help the commission achieve its goals of conducting legally accepted elections.
“Elections are about following the laws. You might have good plans on how best to run the elections, but at the end of the day the question is was the law followed,” said Kasaila.
He then asked DEST to advise MEC employees on the ground to work professionally by being neutral and impartial in the discharge of their duties.
Acting District Commissioner for Nkhotakota, Ben Tohno, said the by-election are taking place following the death of Martha Lunji on July 13, 2021 of Nkhotakota North-East Constituency.
Lunji was also Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chief Whip in Parliament.
In a related development the electoral body also launched the same activity for Mzimba East Constituency.
Mzimba East Constituency became vacant after the death of Wezzie Gondwe who died on October 1, 2021 at Garden City Clinic in South Africa.
Speaking in the district, MEC Commissioner, Anthony Mkumbwa advised the electoral stakeholders to ensure that political rallies and the entire campaign period are free from violence.
He said any political-related violence deters potential voters to cast their votes for political candidates of their choice.
“We are asking political parties in this by- election to promote peace and love. We don’t want violence during the campaign period as it deters people to vote during the voting day,” advised Mkumbwa.
He also urged political parties to encourage women, youths and persons with disabilities to contest during the by-election.
“Let me encourage political parties to put in place modalities that will promote women, youths and persons with disabilities to contest during the by-election,” he said.
On his part, District Commissioner (DC) for M’mbelwa District Council, Emmanuel Bambe, assured MEC that all electoral stakeholders in the district would work as a team to ensure a free and fair by-election.
MEC will hold parliamentary by-elections in Mzimba East, Nkhotakota North-East and Dedza Central East constituencies, and a local government by-election in Chimwalire Ward in Balaka.