Police in Mzuzu have asked political parties in the City to make good security arrangements in advance to ensure that their candidates and supporters are properly secured by Police during submission of nomination forms to Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) which is slated to run from Monday the 4th to Friday 8th February.
Officer-in-Charge for Mzuzu Police Lovemore Mwabumba said this in Mzuzu on Friday during a Multi-Party Liaison Committee (MPLC) meeting held at Mzuzu City Council to brief political parties on the expected conduct during nominations.
The Mzuzu Police Chief asked the political parties in the City to inform Police of the exact routes that their candidates will take when submitting their nomination forms at Mzuzu City Council civic offices in order to avoid violent confrontations with candidates and supporters from different parties on the route to Council.
“We want advanced arrangements of routes for your candidates so Police make good security arrangements in order to have Police in key places so as to foil any plans of violence. And follow time, we do not want unnecessary traffic jams in the town,” Mwabumba said.
The Mzuzu OC also cautioned political party leaders to avoid behaviour that creates tensions which lead to violence during submission of nomination forms. He cited very long convoys, unnecessary traffic jams and giving beer to youthful supporters before delivering the nomination as conduct that could turn this year’s nomination process violent.
Mwabumba then requested MEC officials to ensure that they create ample time between time slots of different candidates to ensure tensions are reduced during this vital electoral phase.
On his part, District Education Manager for Mzuzu Amon Chavula said violence will also be avoided during the nomination period if political parties and ensure that their candidates adhere to time slots allotted to them to avoid collision with other political parties during submission of nominations.
As MEC opens the pre-nomination exercise on Saturday and Sunday February 2 and 3, the electoral stakeholders under the MPLC have also asked all candidates in the 2019 Tripartite Elections in Mzuzu, to ensure that they attend the pre-nomination sessions at Mzuzu City Council to avoid unnecessary delays during the actual submission of nomination forms.
Despite escalating reports of political violence in many parts of the Country in January, Mzuzu has been peaceful with sporadic cases of politically-motivated violence in the City in recent months, a situation which the electoral stakeholders have attributed to a functioning Multi-Party Liaison Committee.
Friday’s MPLC was however only attended by representatives of a handful of political parties the Democratic Progressive Party, Assembly for Democracy and Development (ADD), United Democratic Front (UDF) and Representatives from the Police and National Initiative for Civic Education (NICE) and MEC.
Other members including Malawi Congress Party (MCP), Alliance for Democracy (AFORD), People’s Party (PP) and United Transformation Movement (UTM) did not attend the meeting.
The Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) formed the MPLCs across the Country in 2002 in order to assist in resolving inter-party conflicts and to promote ethical conduct of political parties in Malawi.
From 4 to 8 February, MEC is expected to commence the actual nomination process across the Country which will enable eligible candidates to submit their correctly completed nomination forms to their respective constituency returning officers. Presidential aspirants are expected to submit their filled nomination papers to MEC at Chichiri International Conference Centre in Blantyre.
MEC is authorized by Law to reject nomination forms of candidates that fail to meet the set requirements during the actual submission of nominations.