BLANTYRE--The Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) has blamed the civil society groupings for voter apathy showing during the Mzimba parliamentary polls held Tuesday, October 9, 2012.
The electoral body also expressed concern over poor participation of women in the elections.
“Of the 10 contestants, only one was the lady. What happened to the 50-50 women presentation campaign? Political parties and stakeholders have a responsibility to create a platform where women can be encouraged to contest in elections. Should we have another by-election (God forbid)! I would like to see political parties sponsoring women to contest,” MEC chair Anastasia Msosa said.
Msosa also said Malawi’s civil society needs to do more as the country heads for the 2014 general elections.
She however observed that over 80 percent of voters were women, saying this was good for democracy.
“I visited over 20 centres where polling was being held. My observation was that, over 80% of the voters were women. This is very encouraging and I wish to applause the women of these two constituencies. They make democracy happen! One day, we will vote out all men with the women vote!” she said.
Mzimba Central constituency fell vacant following the death of Professor Donton Mkandawire and Mzimba Southwest due to the ascendance of Khumbo Kachali to the office of the Vice-president of the Republic of Malawi.
Msosa also hailed the contestants for showing good conduct during the electoral process considering “political heavy weights in the country camped in the two constituencies and used every possible opportunity to deliver their messages to the electorate.”
“Elections are conflictual in nature and that there were sporadic conflicts during the campaign period is not out of the ordinary. It was expected. Let me hasten to congratulate all the contestants for displaying maturity and responsibility during this period. The heated campaign did not result into the shedding of blood or indeed loss of life. This is very commendable,” said Msosa.
Voting in the by-elections took place on October 9, 2012 from 6 am to 6 pm in all stations. The commission also analyzed all complaints and declared the by-elections free, fair and credible.
Mzimba Central Constituency had six candidates with a total of 41,740 registered voters but 20,567 registered voters turned out to vote, representing a 49.34 percent of voter turnout. There were 274 null and void votes. This represents 1.33 percent. Independent Joseph Mabvuto Kachali won the seat with 9,412 votes.
Whereas in Mzimba South West Constituency had four candidates with a total of 34,816 registered voters, 18,007 registered voters turned out to vote, representing 51.73 percent of voter turnout. There were 242 null and void votes. This represents 1.34 percent. People’s Party’s Raymond Chatima Nkhata won the seat after amassing 9, 654 votes.
(c) The Maravi Post 2012. Reproduction without acknowledgement prohibited