Chiefs and councillors in Rumphi have urged Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) not to use population as a determining factor in reviewing the district’s constituencies and ward boundaries.
They made the call on Wednesday in the district when MEC chairperson Chifundo Kachale led consultative meetings on constituency and ward demarcation exercise with electoral stakeholders.
In his remarks, sub-Traditional Authority Kawazamawe argued that using population to demarcate constituencies and wards will favour districts with bigger populations.
He said: “If MEC uses population size, it will disadvantage Rumphi because it has a small population.
“I would suggest that when it comes to Rumphi, MEC focuses on terrain when implementing the exercise because we, people of Rumphi, also want to benefit from the increased number of constituencies.”
Acting Paramount Chief Chikulamayembe also echoed Kawazamawe’s sentiments, saying MEC should base the exercise on terrain to ensure Rumphi gets new constituencies.
On his part, Rumphi District Council chairperson Happy Chirambo also pleaded with MEC to use physical features as a criterion for the exercise in the district.
He said: “Rumphi West Constituency, for example, is too big for one member of Parliament.
“It should be divided into two constituencies for some places to get projects because the resources are not enough for the whole area.”
In an interview after the meeting, Kachale, who is a judge of the High Court of Malawi, said MEC will analyse the input.
He said: “There has been a long delay in considering the review of boundaries.
“Like we have told the stakeholders, we will consider the submissions and synthesise them with the assessment outcomes to see the viability of the recommendations.”
Rumphi has four constituencies and eight wards.