16 October 2017

Malawi: By-Elections Fever Grips the Public

Photo: AEP
(File photo).

Anticipation is running high in Dedza's Mayani North ward where the Malawi Electoral Commission is scheduled to conduct by-elections on Tuesday, 17 October, 2017.

Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) on Sunday delivered poll materials in the area to make sure that all centres are opened by 6 am on the day.

Supporters of the main opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) said they are geared to vote in large numbers to make sure their party claims back the ward which fell vacant following the death of Councillor Peter Chimanzi.

"MCP enjoys massive support in this ward so it will be disappointing to let it fall into the hands of another party. Tomorrow In am going to take time off to go and vote," said Akim Zoya, a shop owner at Mayani Trading Center.

On the other hand, the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) supporters say they are also eyeing victory for their candidate who they said is the only hope for the area to develop.

"This area has been lagging in development for a long time. Social services are very poor in this area. We need good roads, bridges and boreholes. If our candidate wins we will be able to get all that because he is development conscious," said Gift Mlangeni, a DPP supporter.

Though MCP and DPP candidates are widely seen as front runners, United Democratic Front (UDF) says it is going to pull a surprise.

Saidi Bauti, a UDF National Executive Committee (NEC) member said they have done a serious campaign to make sure their candidate wins.

MCP, DPP and United Democratic Front are the only parties fielding candidates.

MCP is fielding Lameck Banda while DPP and UDF are fielding Nicholas Josiah and Evelysta Kusina, respectively.

Meanwhile National Initiative for Civic Education (NICE) has commended various electoral stakeholders for ensuring that the campaign period was violence free.

"We collaborated very well with the Multi-party Liaison Committee as well as District Elections Supervisory team in engaging the electorate. This ensured a peaceful campaign period as parties campaigned solely on issues," said Patrick Siwinda, NICE Coordinator for Dedza.

Siwinda said NICE also trained party monitors to capacitate them so that they add value to the electoral process and make sure the results are accepted by all contestants.

The ward has 10 centers with a total of 14,154 registered voters.

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