Ahead of 2019 Tripartite Elections, District Commissioners (DCs) in the country have pledged to give political office seekers equal space to allow them sell their manifestoes to the electorate.
During the past elections, the country witnessed pockets of violence, in which political parties or independent candidates engaged into disagreements over venues which most often culminated in skirmishes.
Recently, Thyolo District, a stronghold of governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) became talk of the public because of the conduct staged by DPP supporters who barred members of Chilima Transformation Movement from holding a meeting at Mapanga ground.
A few days earlier, members of the Malawi Congress Party (MCP) and People’s Party (PP) respectively were assaulted in the same zone for putting on their party regalia.
Thyolo District Commissioner Justin Kathumba strongly condemned the violence.
Speaking in random interviews to appreciate efforts the DCs have done to check the violence during the whole electoral process, Mangochi District Commissioner Reverend Moses Chimphepo said the district has invested a lot of efforts towards a violence-free polls.
“We have embarked on a number of activities such as conducting a Multiparty Liaison Committee (MPLC) each and every month to resolve the arising problems,” he explained.
Chimphepo said apart from that, the council with support from National Initiative for Civic Education (NICE) Trust recently conducted a meeting that saw political party representatives, signing a code of conduct that spells the rules and regulations of the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) regarding election.
“Election should be a celebration of democracy, rather than a moment of fear, violence and threat to lives. Hence, as a district we are ready to level playing field for all contestants and meanwhile we are also ready to facilitate a successful registration during our phase,” he enthused.
On his part, Salima District Commissioner, Charles Mwawembe said the district council together with stakeholders has taken proactive steps to check any electoral malfeasance that would trigger violence.
“As a district we have a strong MPLC and District Executive Support Team (Dest) which are overseers of anything concerning election. And through such vibrant teams which are comprised of different groups I don’t think a party or candidate can be favored,” he said.
Added Mwawembe: “We believe every candidate has a right to conduct a rally here anytime he or she wants provided they follow the procedures. But barring people from conduct rallies in this district is something we don’t want to hear.”
His counterpart, Thomas Chirwa from Mzimba said the district will ensure that candidates will conduct their campaign in a violence-free environment because they have protocols which they have established.
“Already we have a workable team as a district which looks at the welfare of an election. Therefore, I would like to assure you that we have set rules which we all agreed to follow when allowing candidates to come to our district to conduct campaign. We are doing this to give people equal chances and avoid violence,” said Chirwa.