Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) chairperson Maxon Mbendera says recent election trends have shown that Malawians are maturing in understanding and practising democracy.
Mbendera, who is a judge of the Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal, has since called on Malawians to maintain the trend.
The MEC chairperson was speaking in a statement broadcast on taxpayer-funded Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) Television and Radio Two FM on Tuesday evening where he announced that official campaigning for the August 25 Local Government by-elections will end at 6am on August 23.
Malawi will be holding by-elections in five wards and MEC received 30 nomination applications on Tuesday. The by-elections will be held in five wards located in Zomba, Mzuzu, Luchenza, Mangochi and Karonga.
In his message, Mbendera asked politicians to embark on clean and issue-based campaign. He said the campaign period is for parties and candidates to sell themselves to woo the electorate.
He said: “While promoting freedom of expression and assembly, the laws of Malawi forbid use of language which is inflammatory, defamatory or insulting or which constitutes incitements to public disorder, insurrection, hate, violence or war.
“In recent elections, the trends have shown that our understanding and practice of democracy is maturing. The commission did not receive any reports of violence or mudslinging during the by-elections in October 2014. I, therefore, urge you to strive towards maintaining this trend.”
He said the country did not record any reports of violence or castigation during the October 2014 by-elections and hoped political parties and candidates will strive to maintain the trend.