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MEC to hold public hearings on constituency, ward boundary reviews
MPs, ward councilors, political parties, traditional authorities, civil society leaders, women representatives, youth, and people with disabilities, to name a few, are expected to attend the hearings.
MALAWI: Commissioner Olivia Mchaju Liwewe, chairperson of the Electoral Services Committee, stated on Saturday afternoon that the Malawi Electoral Commission is prepared to hold public hearings on Constituency and Ward boundary revisions beginning Monday, April 11th, 2022.
According to Liwewe, this hearing will begin in the country's north and will be strictly by invitation only. MPs, ward councilors, political parties, traditional authorities, civil society leaders, women representatives, youth, and people with disabilities, to name a few, are expected, guests.
She stated that the preliminary maps will be displayed for the final time during the public hearing for stakeholders to view and provide final feedback for the commission to consider when drawing the final map.
Olivia clarified the general public's misconception about the review of boundaries, stating that the goal was not to increase the number of constituencies but rather to equalize the number of voters for each Member of Parliament as required by law.
Following the public hearing, the commission will meet with the leadership of political parties represented in parliament, CSOs, chiefs, and other stakeholders between June 28th and July 2nd, 2022, and will engage MPs before submitting the final report.
"This engagement will allow the commission to discuss the draught report and provide explanations to any questions the honourable members of Parliament may have on the report before it is formally submitted for debate and confirmation," she said.
The commission is expected to present its report to Malawi's National Assembly for approval on October 1, 2022, as required by the country's constitution.
According to Section 76 (5) (b) of the country's Constitution, the final report must be approved by the National Assembly.
Following confirmation, the Commission will print the new constituency and Ward maps.
"By 2023, we will publish them in the Gazette and distribute them to all relevant stakeholders so that people are familiar with the boundaries in time for the 2025 Elections," she said.
The Acting Deputy Chief Election Officer for Finance and Administration, Khumbo Phiri, has denied rumours that the parliament rejected their request to approve the actual budget of K500 million.
“Parliament did not reject the commission's request but instead directed it to pursue the matter with Alliance Capital. The budget is K500 million, and Parliament only approved K158 million," he said.