The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has urged the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) to reschedule the March 30 by-elections due to Covid-19.
MEC plans to hold by-elections in seven constituencies and two wards across the country on March 30 this year. The commission is supposed to hold by-election within sixty days after a ward or constituency falls vacant.
In a statement today, DPP spokesperson Brown Mpinganjira said the party’s Central Committee held a virtual meeting on Tuesday where they discussed the by-elections.
Mpinganjira said the party’s position is that MEC should reschedule the by-elections to a time when the Covid-19 situation in this country is under control.
According to Mpinganjira, large crowds will turn up at campaign functions leading to the spread of Coronavirus. The party also feels that the elections will put a strain on resources.
“At a time when government is struggling for financial resources to combat this pandemic, it does not make sense that the nation should be spending billions of Kwacha on elections when the same could have been utilised to procure medication and equipment to save precious lives.
“The Covid-19 situation is real and is destroying a lot of lives, our way of living and the economy. With more financial resources to fight this pandemic, the nation could very well save a lot of these lives which are being needlessly lost,” he said.
Malawi has registered a total of 30,277 cases including 997 deaths and 16,251 recoveries. The country has 12,819 active cases.
On Thursday at a press briefing, MEC chairperson Chifundo Kachale said projections show that it will be safe to conduct the elections.
According to Kachale, the Presidential Taskforce on COVID-19 Taskforce has told the commission at the height of the pandemic in mid-January, positivity rate was at over 30.4% but now it’s at 17.4% with projections that in the next two weeks it will be at 15.4% and in the next 4 weeks it will be below 10%.
“With the expectation that if that projection is maintained, it will be reasonably safe to undertake the by-elections since when we were conducting by-elections in November last year, it was at hovering around 15%,” said Kachale.