Malawi Electoral Commission’s (MEC) exercise to re-demarcate all the 193 constituencies is set to start this month.
The exercise, which will see some constituencies merged or completely wiped out, has a budget of K300 million ($409 836) to cater for field technical work and a consultant has since been identified.
MEC chairperson Maxon Mbendera confirmed the development, but said the exercise is a long process.
“The re-demarcation is on and we will start with field work. A consultant has already been identified and, yes, it is true that some constituencies will be wiped out while others will be joined. But, like I said, this is a long process and it will take a while,” he said.
Mbendera added that during field work, stakeholders, including political parties and government departments, will be consulted and made aware of what is going to happen.
However, he did not rule out the fact that the development may anger some members of Parliament (MPs).
“At the end of the day, it will not be MEC’s decision, but it is a decision which Malawians will have to make. We are simply following the constitution,” he said.
Lilongwe Msinja South MP Lingson Belekanyama said the development should send fears to some MPs because some of them may be forced to contest where they are not popular.
“I think it is normal to fear because there is a lot that might change. There are some constituencies which will definitely be combined with others. There is no running away from that,” he said.
This is the second demarcation, with the first taking place in 1998. That exercise took the number constituencies from 177 to the present 193.
The re-demarcation exercise will consider, among others, population.
Currently, Lilongwe—which has the largest population among all the cities—has less constituencies (four) than Blantyre which has eight constituencies and a population of less than 800 000.