With a few months to 2019 tripartite election, Traditional leaders in the country have signed an Electoral Code of Conduct aimed at achieving free and fair elections.
Over the past elections, chiefs have been blamed for being partisan due to unequal treatment of candidates and parties seeking to campaign freely in their respective areas hence promoting violence and disunity.
Speaking to Malawi24 during the National Conference on Chiefs and Elections on Friday in Lilongwe, Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) Chairperson Dr. Jane Ansah said chiefs have a greater role in holding free, fair, inclusive and credible elections hence thought it wise to come up with the code of conduct for smooth elections.
“With this Electoral Code of Conduct, it is expected that chiefs will not be compelling their subjects to support or not support any candidate or political party.
“The commission in consultation with chiefs in the country has developed this Electoral Code of Conduct which sets standard and best practice for chiefs’ conduct as traditional custodians of electoral participants.” Said Ansah
On his part, United Nations Development Program’s Chief Technical Adviser on Elections Richard Cox said the code of conduct has the potential to promote 50-50 campaign hence asked chiefs and all stakeholders to support it.
“From political perspective, Malawi has seen women that are capable of doing well in politics withdrawing from contesting due to little support from stakeholders, one being chiefs hence the document has a great role in ensuring that women are supported fully and achieve 50-50 campaign.” Said Cox
Speaking after signing the code of conduct, Paramount Chief Gomani V thanked MEC and UNDP for the initiative saying the code of conduct has got the potential in curbing political violence in the country.
Gomani added that he strongly believes that all chiefs will abide to the agreed code of conduct and give equal treatment to all political gatherings.
In the code of conduct, the traditional leaders have been asked to refrain from and condemn all forms of bribery and corruption.