Machinga proposes additional polling centres

Machinga, Machinga has proposed 33 additional polling centres in its seven constituencies and 14 wards as part of its re-demarcation proposal to the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC).

The proposal was made Sunday during one of MECs many demarcation consultative meetings takings place across the country, this time in Machinga.

MEC Commissioner Linda Kunje said the demarcation exercise will delay until 2020 as good demarcation will be done better after the Population and Housing Census in 2018.

She said the population an integral factor in the demarcation exercise.

Kunje pointed out that MEC will welcome proposals on additional polling centres for consideration in the 2019 tripartite elections.

“We want to make the 2019 elections as credible as possible so that they should be emulated by other countries in the region,” she said.

Member of Parliament (MP) for Machinga East, Esther Jolobala said additional polling stations will help prevent people from registering in areas that are outside their constituencies or wards.

“This will ease confusion that arises as a result of distant registration and polling stations,” she said.

Machinga has 166 registration and polling centres which are mostly primary schools in all the seven constituencies and 14 wards.

Out of the 166 centres, one centre is Dzukani Private Secondary School; three centres are at agricultural extension planning areas while other eight centres are Community Based Child Centres.

However most of the 33 proposed polling centres are village grounds and community based organizations premises.

“Bear in mind that these are only proposals,” Kunje said adding that MEC will also consider other factors such as security of electoral materials and costs of tents in open grounds.

Paramount Chief Kawinga expressed fear that the demarcation exercise will interfere with traditional authorities’ boundaries.

“I’m afraid and I don’t agree with this,” the newly elevated Paramount Chief lamented.

Responding to his concerns, Commissioner Kuje assured Paramount Kawinga that the demarcation exercise to be done in 2020 will not change Traditional Authority (TA) boundaries saying the boundaries will remain as they were.

She advised the Machinga District Council, MPs, Councilors, party representatives and electoral related structures to partake in the district demarcation exercise

Paramount Chief Kawinga later supported the demarcation exercise after Commissioner Kunje’s explanations on MEC’s position and legal mandate on the exercise.

Source: Malawi News Agency – MANA