The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) has called upon chiefs in the country to refuse bribes from political candidates competing in the upcoming elections who would want the chiefs to be biased towards them and in turn influence their subjects on who to vote for compromising the credibility of elections.
ACB principal public education officer Agnes Mweta was speaking on Saturday at a chiefs’ forum which the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) organised for group village head men and Traditional Authority (T/As) who are under senior chief Ngabu at Makande football ground.
Mweta said the Bureau has received numerous reports of corrupt practices committed by chiefs during this time of campaign whereby chiefs are barring other political candidates to conduct political rallies in their areas after being bribed.
Mweta said this gives unfair advantage to undeserving candidates to win, leaving out candidates who would have developed the area for the period of five years.
“Chiefs should realise that people have a right to choose a candidate who is able to develop their area and hence they infringe on peoples’ right for development when they influence them on who to vote for”, said Mweta.
Mweta continued by warning people that they stand to lose out in development should they vote for a candidate because of a bribe.
On his part Senior Chief Ngabu, said chiefs in the country have signed a code of conduct which among others bars them from persuading their subjects on who to vote for.
Chief Ngabu said he will not hesitate to discipline any chief under his jurisdiction who will be found influencing their subjects on a candidate to vote for upon taking bribes.
At the meeting, officials from MEC urged political parties to ensure that their monitors are vigilant on the voting day to prevent any form of rigging.
MEC has been conducting meetings with chiefs in the country to mobilise their subjects to vote in large numbers on May 21.
The electoral body has also been civic educating people in the country on how to cast their ballot to reduce the number of null and void votes for the May 21st Tripartite polls.