Malawi Congress Party (MCP) has questioned the formula Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) used in determining the additional number of constituencies during its re-demarcation exercise.
The MCP leadership raised the questions yesterday when MEC met President Lazarus Chakwera, in his capacity as the party’s president ,at Kamuzu Palace on the determination of constituencies and wards for the 2025 elections.
In his brief remarks, the President said he did not want to give his position on the exercise to avoid partisanship on the matter as Head of State.
He said he would leave the matter to MCP national executive committee members present.
Chakwera said: “I am encouraged with the work that you have done so far in the quest to consolidate democracy. I am glad that Parliament which is the representative of the people, will have a final say on this exercise.
“Parliament being a political house, represented by politicians, they can have their own varied perceptions. But everything being done must follow the law and due processes for the consolidation of democracy.”
In his submission to MEC, MCP director of elections Elias Chakwera said much as the electoral body looked at the population, ease of communication and geographical elements as some of the key factors in its decision-making, the party had questions about the process.
He said looking at the whole structure cumulatively, one begins to see that some areas with much higher population seem to have been denied representation of constituencies which questions the formula that MEC used.
The director of elections said: “If you cumulatively look at the number of constituencies for Central Region for example, compare the same number with the Southern Region, you would discover that the South would by 2025 have less number of voters by 122 000 voters if you are using the same statistics that you have.”
Minister of Justice Titus Mvalo wondered how some constituencies deemed as big have remained the same during the exercise when there have been complaints that their vastness negatively affected implementation of development projects.
But MEC chairperson Chifundo Kachale said it would be imperative if the MCP provided their detailed technical response because in the MEC presentation they have provided methodology on how it arrived at the numbers.
He said if MCP leaders have issues, it would help to provide specific details than generalising their observations.
Kachale said: “In a process of this nature, everybody is entitled to their opinion. The commission has been very forthright from the word go on the methods and formulas we are using to arrive at the different outcomes.”
He said just as the President observed, political perceptions in such kind of processes are inevitable, but MEC’s responsibility is to ensure that any valid and legitimate concerns which are within its control are responded to and addressed.
On continued public concerns about the cost of additional constituencies, Kachale said 35 new members of Parliament (MPs) is the least they can accommodate.
MEC recently embarked on the constituency and ward boundary re-demarcation exercise.
The results of the exercise saw the proposed creation of additional 35 constituencies starting from 2025 following a MEC resolution to increase constituencies from the current 193 to 228.
MEC announced that the Northern Region will have 37 constituencies from the current 33, an increase of four while the Central Region will have 20 new constituencies from 73 to 93 while the Southern Region will have 98 constituencies, a jump of 11 from 87.