BLANTYRE - Eligible and sane people from Mzimba Central and South west constituencies are expected to cast their votes on Tuesday, October 9 2012 and printing of 80,600 ballots papers for the by-elections is underway.
The People’s Party (PP) came into power following the unexpected death of President Bingu wa Mutharika in April this, as second in command, Joyce Banda constitutionally took over the mantle with PP as the ruling party. This will probably be the second time for PP to participate in by elections having failed during the by-elections for Rumphi central seat last year September. The seat went To Aford’s Enoch Chihana.
The party, without doubt, is itching to scoop the two seats so that it should at least have its own parliamentarians. According the Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec), Mzimba west constituency has four candidates, namely Raymond Nkhata of PP, Ronald Chavula (Democratic Progressive Party ([DDP]), and independents James Nthara and Baxter Mzunda.
While in Mzimba Central, six candidates are vying for the seat. These are Owen Mkandawire (DPP), Aram Beza (PP), Enita Wezi Njolwa (Aford), Bonifasio Ngulube (National Rainbow Coalition), and independents Joseph Mabvuto Kachali and Denis Kandodo Mvula. Some of these candidates, according to media reports, wanted to run on PP tickets but were frustrated and resorted to independent candidates.
Luckily, Mec gave all the candidates at least 30 days to market their manifestoes to 41, 298 voters in Mzimba Central and 30,754 in Mzimba South West constituency. Meanwhile Mec said some 43,900,439 books of ballot papers and 36,700,367 books of ballot papers will be printed for the two constituencies.
Mec Chairperson Justice Anastasia Msosa said Monday that the constituencies have 62 polling centres, 77 polling streams with 76,556 registered voters. The final figures of the registered voters from the two constituencies has determined number of ballot papers to be printed, says Mec.
“The extra ballot papers are as a result of the printing sequence of the ballot books which is categorized in hundreds. The number of voters for each centre has been rounded up to the nearest 100 as ballot papers are printed in books of hundred,” Msosa.
The electoral body has estimated that the exercise might take five days but the span may change due to various factors like efficiency of the printing machines and power. Meanwhile all contesting candidates and political parties have been invited to observe the process which will be taking all day as one way of ensuring transparency.