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Proposed Constituency, Ward Names Stir Debate

By Nellie Kapatuka

Lilongwe, December 7, Mana: Lilongwe District elections stakeholders on Monday posed numerous questionson how Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) came up with new names of constituencies and wards in the district.

This was during the district’s elections stakeholders meeting held at Bwaila Secondary School in the city.

On behalf of the technical team on demarcation process of ward and constituency boundaries in the district, Lilongwe District Commissioner, Lawford Palani, presented three different scenarios which necessitate additional wards constituencies as well as their new names.

Currently, Lilongwe has 18 constituencies.

Palani’s explanation did not please most traditional leaders to the meeting, arguing that names given to the new wards and one additional constituency have deep-rooted meanings connected to particular areas.

Making his contribution, Senior Chief Chadza blamed MEC for not involving traditional leaders when coming up with the names, saying the issue may lead to voter apathy in the coming elections if the issue is not taken care of.

However, in response, MEC Commissioner, Olivia Liwewe, who also chairs MEC’s Electoral Services Committee said names were just proposed and were subject to change.

“The door is still open for further consultations on these issues. It is not a one-day process and from here, we will go into the constituencies and wards that have critical issues to be addressed to ensure that we all are on the same pace as we move forward,” assured Liwewe.

According to Liwewe, the country’s electoral body has been using the current demarcations for 23 years, hence asked stakeholders to be patient. The commissioner explained that MEC works to change things for the benefit of all people in the country.

“Not everyone will be pleased with this process, however, we have taken note of all reviews which we will take back to the drawing board to see how best to incorporate them,” Liwewe said.

Lilongwe is the largest district in Central Region with over a million people.

MEC is reviewing ward and constituency boundaries across the country. Using current guidelines, the electoral body is no longer following traditional authority territories in coming up with a constituency or a ward.

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