MALAWI ELECTORAL COMMISSION
MESSAGE FROM MEC CHAIRMAN, JUSTICE MAXON MBENDERA, SC
ON LAUNCH OF BY-ELECTIONS
29 APRIL, 2015
Greetings my fellow Malawians.
I am here to inform you that the Malawi Electoral Commission has planned to hold Local Government By-elections on June 23, 2015. The by-elections will be in five wards where seats have become vacant. The vacancies have arisen due to the untimely demise of incumbent Councillors.
May I take the opportunity to convey condolences from the Malawi Electoral Commission to the bereaved families, friends and relatives, political parties and all people affected by the passing away of our Late Councillors. May their souls rest in
The five wards are as follows:
Luchenza Ward in Luchenza Municipal Council
Zomba Central Ward in Zomba City Council
Msikisi Ward in Mangochi Town Council
Chibanja Ward in Mzuzu City Council
Khwawa Ward in Karonga District Council
The Electoral Commission is mandated by law to conduct by-elections in order to fill vacancies so that the electorate can continue having representation in those councils.
Other details about the processes for the by-elections are as follows:
Voter Verification and Registration
In preparation for the by-elections, the Commission will open centres for both voter verification and registration from 8 to 12 May 2015. Centres will be open from 8AM to 4PM including weekends.
All registered voters for the May 20, 2014 elections, whether they voted or not, will be required to go and verify their details in the voters’ roll at the centre where they registered. If they transferred during the May 2014 elections, they should verify at the new centre they transferred to.
Registered voters who lost their voter certificates should go to the centre where they registered to get a replacement certificate that will enable them to vote on June 23, 2015.
The Commission is going to register first-time voters who have attained the age of 18 after May 20, 2014 or will turn 18 by June 23, 2015. The Commission will not register anyone who was eligible to register during the last registration exercise but failed to do so for whatever reason or reasons. The Commission will also not accept transfers.
Ladies and Gentlemen, take note that people from other wards where elections are not taking place will not be allowed to register.
At this point, I urge all those who will be involved in managing the registration exercise to ensure that this is adhered to.
May I also appeal to traditional leaders to ensure that they give identification letters only to persons from the ward where the elections are taking place. Giving false witness to enable those who are not eligible to register is an electoral offence.
Ladies and Gentlemen, it is only proper that I should remind you that it is a crime to register more than once. If found you risk prosecution and jail term of up to two years and a fine of five hundred thousand kwacha (K500,000.00).All political parties, independent candidates, and organisations accredited to observe these elections are asked to submit names of their monitors for registration to the respective Ward Returning Officer (WRO) before 3 May, 2015.
Names of monitors for polling should be submitted before 10 June 2015.
All contesting political parties and independent candidates will be allowed to have a maximum of two monitors per registration centre.
May I appeal to political parties, candidates and Civil Society Organisations that they should place monitors with numeracy and literacy skills in order for them to monitor objectively and effectively. These monitors should also come from the area surrounding the registration centre to be able to ascertain that only eligible people register.
Nomination of candidates
Nomination papers will be available from April 30, 2015 and can be collected from the Ward Returning Officers in the affected wards or the District Commissioners.
Aspiring candidates should be registered voters and must have attained the age of 21 on the day of submitting nomination papers which is on 23 May, 2015. They should also be able to speak and read English.
Candidates who were duly nominated and contested during the May 2014 elections still have to collect nomination forms because this is a fresh election.
The nomination fees still remain at K20,000 for male candidates and K15,000 for female candidates.
The nomination fees should be deposited at the nearest Malawi Savings Bank branch before submission of nomination papers. Bank details will be made available at the time of collecting nomination papers. The deposit slips have to be filled in triplicate; one slip will be retained by the bank, the other by the candidate while the third slip should be attached to the nomination paper as proof of payment.
The WROs will receive the Nomination Papers from all candidates on 23 May, 2015 in the respective offices of Ward Returning Officers.
The official campaign period will start on May 24, 2015. As per requirement of the law, campaign shall end at 06.00AM on 21 June, 2015.
Since these are by-elections, the rules and regulations that were made during the Tripartite Elections will still be in force.
Candidates will be expected to observe the Political Parties and Candidates Code of Conduct which was agreed upon and signed for by all political parties and candidates during the 2014 Tripartite Elections.
During this period I urge all candidates and political parties to conduct issue based campaign. They should dwell on issues. It is our anticipation that this approach will be maintained and even improved.
A special appeal goes to traditional and faith leaders to ensure that they encourage their subjects to participate in electoral activities. They should not show favouritism and create no-go-zones for political parties or candidates. Rather, they should encourage their subjects to attend political rallies of all candidates during the campaign period in order to make informed choices.
Polling and vote counting
My fellow Malawians, polling will take place on 23 June 2015 starting from 6.00AM up to 6.00 PM.
Vote counting will start immediately after polling at the centres and results shall be tallied at the Teacher Development Centres (TDCs). The Commission will announce results on 24 June, 2015 at the tally centre to be established for the by elections.
The Commission is committed to deliver credible elections. It is our anticipation that all stakeholders will support this noble cause. Officials should treat all political players fairly. They should not show partisanship. Leaders of political parties should encourage women to participate in electoral processes.
My fellow citizens, in conclusion I hereby announce that the Commission will hold stakeholders meetings and launch the by-elections in the five wards on Thursday, April 30, 2015 from 8.30AM as follows:
Luchenza Ward in Luchenza Municipal Council at Luchenza Primary School Teacher Development Centre (TDC)
Zomba Central Ward in Zomba City Council at
Zomba Community Hall
Msikisi Ward in Mangochi Town Council at Habitat
Chibanja Ward in Mzuzu City Council at Mndeba
Khwawa Ward in Karonga District Council at Khwawa CDSS.
The Commission is inviting all stakeholders including leaders of political parties, aspiring candidates, leaders of civil society organizations, traditional leaders, faith leaders, and the general public to attend. During these meetings the Commission will give detailed information on the by-elections and also release the full calendar for the by-elections.
May God, the Almighty bless you and bless our nation.