People of Balaka District have asked the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) to increase constituencies and wards to spur development in the district.
The people said this yesterday during constituency and wards demarcation exercise consultations led by MEC chairperson Chifundo Kachale.
In his remarks, Traditional Authority Chanthunya said the current constituencies were too big; hence, the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) is not sufficient to facilitate projects.
“When Balaka became a district in 1998 [from Machinga], we expected that through decentralisation, many areas will develop. However, we need more constituencies to accelerate development,” he said.
United Democratic Front publicity secretary Yusuf Mwawa echoed the chief’s sentiments.
“There is need to demarcate constituency boundaries in the district because development is not evenly distributed. This has resulted in resentment from people who feel shortchanged,” he said.
On his part, Balaka Civil Society Network chairperson John Bamusi said irregular constituency sizes result in uneven distribution of development; hence, perpetuating poverty.
In his response, Kachale, who is a judge of the High Court of Malawi, said the exercise will depend on the consultations from the peopleto come up with boundaries they will be happy with.
Balaka has four constituencies and eight wards. The constituencies are Balaka North, Balaka West, Balaka South and Balaka Central East.