Some Parliamentarians in Mzimba have quizzed the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) for postponement of constituency re-demarcations despite the parliament allocating MK500 million for the exercise.
During MEC’s stakeholder’s consultations in Mzimba Wednesday, Commissioner Clifford Baloyi announced to the grouping that the electoral body has postponed the constituency re-demarcations until the year 2020 because there has been no new data on population census by National Statistical Office since 2008.
This irked members of parliament and councilors saying MEC’s decision is a deliberate move meant to frustrate the Malawi citizenry on development.
Member of Parliament for Mzimba South West and Former Vice President, Khumbo Kachali said he was surprised to hear MEC changing tune over the constituency re-demarcations until 2020 basing on the issue of population census.
He said “According to Malawi Constitution Section 76 subsection (2) I to III gives power to Malawi Electoral Commission to conduct Constituency re-demarcations every 5 years then why are they not demarcating the constituencies? In the previous parliament meeting on budget review, we portioned about MK500 million then why not do the exercise.
“Mzimba is the most hardly hit with the problem of underdevelopment because constituencies are very big. If you can travel to Edingeni you will find that the roads are not upgraded for the past three years. If we can have these constituencies re-demarcated it will assist us,” the former Vice President lamented.
He said development comes to district through constituencies, such as Constituency Development Fund (CDF) and if constituencies are too large the impact cannot be felt.
Concurring with Kachali, Member of Parliament for Mzimba Solola, Jacob Hara said MEC’s decision to postpone the re-demarcations basing on population does not hold water.
He said to say the data on 2008 population census is outdated is not true because there has not been demarcations sometime.
Hara said ” The Constitution does not talk of population census for holding re-demarcation and we wonder to hear MEC telling us this today.
“Mzimba has very big constituencies which needs to be re-demarcated for efficient development distribution.” he added.
Another stakeholder and Chairperson for Mzimba Market, Emmanuel Ng’ambi said MEC’s decision is questionable meant to punish people of Mzimba in terms of development.
He said increasing number of polling centres is nothing because the constituencies would still remain the same.
MEC’s Commissioner Rev Clifford Baloyi said it is true MEC received MK500 million but the issue of population is a decisive factor to carry on with the exercise.
He said the decision remains with the Parliament to deliberate over the issue about the re-demarcations exercise.
Source: Malawi News Agency – MANA