Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) chairperson Chifundo Kachale has asked Chitipa and Karonga district elections support teams and multiparty liaison committees to source views from electorates on constituency and ward demarcation exercise.
The MEC chairperson made the call on Monday when he held constituency and ward demarcation meetings in the two border districts.
Kachale, who is a judge of the High Court of Malawi, said: “MEC is mandated by the country’s Constitution Section 76 to review boundaries of wards and constituencies every five years to proportionally demarcate areas in tandem with population density, means of communication and geographical features.
“This exercise was last done in 1998. Therefore, we would like to conduct the exercise in stages in accordance with the electoral laws.”
Karonga district commissioner Paul Kalilombe said the council is committed to supporting MEC implement the exercise to promote transparency and accountability and enhance equitable development.
On his part, Senior Chief Kameme said the process is long overdue, saying his office started advocating for a standalone constituency in 1997 due to Chitipa North Constituency boundary issues.
He said: “When we heard about this meeting, we thought you have come to give us our own constituency because the constituency [Chitipa North] has two area development committees [ADC]—Kameme and Ulambya-Songwe—which stretches up to Chitipa Central Constituency.
“This development deprives the people of Kameme development as more funds are allocated to Ulambya-Songwe ADC.”
In 2018, Chitipa registered 95 777 voters while Karonga registered 146 587 voters, according to MEC records. Both districts have five constituencies and 10 wards each.
Meanwhile, government has released about K700 million from the 2021/22 financial year out of the required K1.3 billion for the constituency and ward demarcation exercise.