The Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) has warned contestants in the November 10 by-elections against perpetrating any form of violence saying such candidates shall be penalised.
Commissioner Steve Duwa sounded the warning last Friday when the electoral body engaged chiefs under Traditional Authority Makhwira at Mitondo primary school in Makhwira South ward where MEC will hold by-election.
Duwa said it is against the electoral laws for any candidate to incite violence during an election.
Commissioner Duwa said: “During the previous elections we registered some cases of violence in this area. we don’t want a repeat of that this time around as violence can scare away voters especially women.
“It is therefore imperative for all contestants to refrain from castigating one another as that can instigate violence. It is the duty of you chiefs to ensure that all the candidates in your area are upholding peace throughout the electoral period.”
His remarks come after the ruling MCP Regional Chairperson for the Southern Region Peter Simbi complained over the conduct of supporters of UDF candidate Isaick Odges who passed along the venue of MCP rally at Mitondo primary school last week with a public address system campaigning for the UDF candidate who was having another rally at Livunzu trading center.
The MCP regional chair said this was a direct provocation saying it would have been proper for the UDF supporters to reduce the volume of their PA system as they were passing by the venue of the MCP rally.
Meanwhile, the National Civic Education (NICE) Trust has started engaging all political parties in Chikwawa on peace building.
On Friday NICE trust engaged all the political parties, religious leaders, chiefs through the constituency Multiparty Liaison Committee(MPLC) where all the candidates vowed to conduct a violence free campaign.
During the 2019 tripartite elections, there were some misunderstandings at Mchacha primary school poling center where all MCP monitors boycotted when their request to have the ballot papers recounted before commencement of poling was rejected by monitors of other political parties.
Makhwira south ward fell vacant following the death of ward councillor for the area Maneck Gannet who was accidentally short by police during disagreements when people in the area were protesting over compensation after being displaced to pave way for the construction of Thabwa Livunzu fatima road.