The Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) has started developing a code of conduct for traditional leaders in recognition of the crucial role they play during elections.
MEC chairperson Maxon Mbendera said recently the electoral body will consult traditional leaders on the code of conduct for their input.
Mbendera, who is also a Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal judge, said the commission plans to finalise the code of conduct before the campaign period kicks off.
“The commission has been receiving reports in the past where some chiefs have been creating no-go zones for particular political parties or candidates.
“This contributes to unlevelling of the playing field, especially when it is the most sought-after venue,” said Mbendera. He said the commission hopes the code of conduct would help in dealing with such uncalled for behaviour.
Mbendera said the code of conduct will also be presented to the National Elections Consultative Forum (Necof) meeting before its implementation.
He said chiefs play a crucial role in mobilising people to attend campaign meetings and in allocating campaign venues to parties.
“The law is very clear that persons or political parties seeking to address a meeting should notify the district commissioner through writing with a copy of the same to the police.
“It is also clear that all public servants are supposed to give equal treatment to all contestants in an election,” added Mbendera.
He also announced that the commission has set March 24 to 28 as the period for inspection of the voters roll.