A group of concerned citizens in the Northern Region under the tag ‘Voice of the North’ has petitioned the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) for additional constituencies, saying the number of constituencies in the region should be increased from 33 to 55.
The development comes as MEC wants to carry out boundary re-demarcation exercise soon. The northern region has been allocated five more constituencies which would see the region having 38 constituencies from the previous 33.
However, people from the region say the additional five constituencies are too few considering the population of people in the region and they want MEC to add some more constituencies.
According to chairperson for Voice of The North David Botha, giving the region additional five constituencies only, is denying people from the region access to developmental activities and they cannot sit and watch “such injustice”.
Botha told the local media that the development means that the majority of areas in the region will remain underdeveloped since most of them will remain unrepresented in parliament.
“We feel discriminated because the number of constituencies has got a lot of issues to consider like; if you have more constituencies, economically you move forward and we would want the commission to consider adding more constituencies here in the northern region,” said Botha.
The chairperson further said that by only allocating five additional constituencies in the region, the electoral commission is contradicting itself in some consideration factors for the re-demarcation exercise.
According to Botha, the group has now given MEC seven-day ultimatum to respond to their request.
Meanwhile, the Commission is holding meetings in all councils to explain the determination process of the number of constituencies for each council and it is also explaining to the stakeholders the steps remaining for the boundary review process to be concluded.
According to MEC, the demarcation exercise will see number of constituencies increased from the previous 193 to 228 constituencies countrywide.