Group Village Head (GVH) Chimkwende in Thyolo dis has alleged that her subjects are being compelled to rally behind candidates of one political party ahead of the May 20 Tripartite Elections.
Chimkwende made the revelation to officials of the National Initiative for Civic Education (Nice) Trust at a consultative meeting the Trust held with chiefs and members of the disadvantaged groups at Bvumbwe Traditional Court recently.
The GVH explained that supporters of the political party have been going from village to village forcing eligible voters to commit themselves to offer unflinching support to the party, including voting for its candidates in the 2014 Tripartite Elections.
“We are very appalled by this approach to wooing public support for a party. Could this be a new system of campaigning?” asked Chimkwende, adding that organisations accredited to conduct civic and voter education need to extend their efforts to politicians.
She said some overzealous politicians have gone further by recording names of eligible voters who have committed themselves to supporting them to use as basis for their chances of winning or falling during the May 20 elections.
Nice district civic education officer (DCEO) for Thyolo, Moses Kaunda, said it is against electoral practices and laws for politicians to force voters to vote against their will.
Kaunda advised chiefs to report such people to police.
At the same function, president of the Association of Persons with Disabilities in Malawi (APDM), Clayer Chijuni, complained that people with disabilities are facing challenges to attend political rallies due to problems of mobility as many of them do not have wheelchairs.
Said Chijuni: ” We are being denied access to information on the forthcoming elections. We’d like to appeal to government to consider helping us with wheelchairs so that we, too, can easily attend these rallies and get relevant information on elections.”