The Electoral Commission (EC) on Wednesday announced that by-elections in two vacant constituencies in Mzimba District will be held on October 19 2012.
Mzimba Central Constituency fell vacant on Christmas Eve last year following the death of its legislator, Professor Donton Mkandawire, whereas Mzimba South West became vacant after the appointment of Khumbo Kachali as Malawiâ€™s Vice-President in April this year.
During the launch, EC chairperson Supreme Court of Appeal Judge Anastasia Msosa said registration of new voters will take place from 13 to 17 August. This exercise will be open to voters who turned 18 after the 2009 general elections.
Names of monitors are expected to be submitted before August 6 and training of registration supervisors is scheduled to take place on August 10 and 11, according to Msosa.
The by-elections will be a litmus test for the Peopleâ€™s Party (PP) which came to power in April after the death of president Bingu wa Mutharika. PP has no elected Member of Parliament (MP) as it has never won an election.
The party unsuccessfully contested in the Rumphi Central by-elections while in opposition and most of its MPs either defected or were sacked from the then ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).
Director of Church and Society of Livingstonia CCAP Synod Moses Mkandawire has described the by-elections as a test of legitimacy for the PP.
“Of course, by-elections have to be conducted to allow people have representation. But they are also a test of legitimacy for the ruling party because if it loses, it means that people have not accepted it,” he said.
However, PP deputy secretary general Harry Mkandawire said the party will win both by-elections. He said PP will hold primary elections on August 25 2012.
The National Initiative for Civic Education (Nice), Church and Society Programme of Livingstonia CCAP Synod, Coyida, Mbawemi Womenâ€™s Group and Malawi Carer will conduct voter and civic