Traditional Authority Tengani of Nsanje district has told his subjects to allow all parliamentary candidates to hold political rallies in the district ahead of the March 30 by-elections.
T/A Tengani said this at his headquarters when Malawi electoral commission MEC was orienting them on their roles as chiefs in the forthcoming by-election.
He said most of the times chiefs feel their people do not respect them but said this comes as a result of the chief’s behavior towards politics.
“Chiefs should always be nuetral and should not show their party affiliations, they should be the ones to take a leading role in preaching about peace during elections and they should allow any party to hold their campaign rallies in their areas,” he said.
He, however, was quick to say sometimes the politicians fuel violence as they do not follow right procedures when they want to conduct their rallies.
The T/A said the law says that when one wants to hold a meeting at a particular place the politicians should write a letter to the district commissioners office and a copy should go to police so that there should not be any violence during the meetings but this is not followed.
“I know the procedure but I don’t think this is being followed by the politicians, these people should follow the procedure so that they can avoid violence during campaigns, sometimes we just hear two different parties announcing about their meetings at night and we wonder if they follow right procedures,” he said.
He also advised his subjects to share the information they have acquired from MEC with their people so as to have free and fair elections with no null and void votes and also to go by MEC rules.
During the meeting commissioner Arthur Nanthulu said he is pretty sure that voter apathy will be minimised during this coming election.
He said MEC is doing all it can to minimize this by meeting traditional and religious leaders who are the best tools in as far as information dissemination is concerned.
“We rely much on these two groups of people because they live with people and disseminating information is easy to them, and we believe that as it worked in Karonga where a lot of people cast their votes during the last year’s by-election same will happen this time around,” he said.
Nsanje central and north constituencies will have by-election on the 30th of March 2021 after the Court ruled that there were some irregularities in the 2019 elections for the two constituencies.