Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) has urged Traditional Authorities (T/As) and their subordinate chiefs in Mangochi to play a crucial role in mobilizing their subjects to go and cast their votes during the December 15 by-elections.
MECs commissioner Olivia Liwewe made the call on Tuesday at Thema Teacher’s Development (TDC), T/A Nankumba in the district during a meeting with the chiefs aimed at seeking their support in the by-elections.
“We need huge voter turn-out during the voting day and this can be achieved if you state your support as chiefs because, we know, you wield more respect from your subjects (voters),” she said.
Liwewe observed that more often, people in the communities become lazy to go out and vote during the voting day, hence, there is need for the chiefs this time around to assume a bigger role that convinces their subjects to vote to beat voter apathy.
The commissioner, therefore, encouraged the community leaders not to relax but rather get strong towards the affairs of the by-elections, saying through their efforts MEC anticipates successful elections that will be characterized with large voter turnout.
Liwewe also seized the event’s opportunity to ask the chiefs to say no to violence by condemning any violent acts from the candidates and their supporters.
“We are committed to delivering successful and credible elections just like we did in the fresh presidential election and the recent by-elections. Therefore, may I urge you to help us achieve our aspirations by saying no to violence in your areas,” she said
In his remarks, Senior T/A Nankumba advised the chiefs to be equal to all the candidates, stressing that as leaders they need to be neutral.
“As a senior chief, I would like to encourage all the community leaders to go and encourage their subjects to vote. You know MEC cannot go door to door to mobilize people to cast their votes but they depend on, hence, lets support them to garner more voters,” he urged.
MEC is holding by-elections in two constituencies in the district, namely Mangochi West and Mangochi North-East alongside Phalombe North constituency, after the constituencies fell vacant due to nullification of 2019 results.