The Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) has warned chiefs that the body will not entrust them with any role in the forthcoming tripartite elections if they show favouritism for any political party.
MEC Commissioner, Elvey Ntafu, said chiefs in the country are not supposed to favour any political party or declare support for candidates competing in the May 2019 general elections.
Commissioner Ntafu added that though chiefs have a right to belong to a political party just like any citizen, they are not supposed to openly show their political allegiance for fear of putting the electoral body in disrepute.
The warning comes amid concerns that some chiefs in the country are openly declaring their support to some presidential aspirants for 2019 elections.
Some chiefs are also reportedly barring other political parties especially opposition political parties from holding rallies in their areas.
She issued the warning recently in Chikwawa at a meeting the electoral body organised for chiefs under senior chief Ngabu aimed at sensitising them on how they can take an active role in encouraging their subjects to take part in the forthcoming elections. .
“You see, chiefs are there for everyone. That is why it is important for them not to show their party colours. As MEC we shall disassociate ourselves from partisan chiefs,”said Ntafu.
She added that chiefs command respect and influence from their subjects and would not want that influence to be abused.
On his part, Group Village Headman Malemia, who represented Senior Chief Ngabu at the meeting, said he was committed to being nonpartisan in discharging his duties.
University of Malawi Political Scientist, Ernest Thindwa, concurred with Commissioner Ntafu on the need for chiefs in the country to be neutral during elections.
However, Thindwa said most chiefs in the country would want to please the governing party to get special recognition and as such they are pro-government.
The meeting was attended by over 40 chiefs from Senior Chief Ngabu in Chikwawa district.