In Balaka, stakeholders have disagreed over the name of a new constituency which Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) wants to create in the district.
Some people have proposed that the constituency should be named Utale while others say it should be Mulunguzi.
Chairperson of the Chief’s council in Balaka, Inkosi Senior Chief Chamthunya, said that concerned stakeholders adopted the name ‘Mulunguzi constituency’ during meetings which they convened.
According to Chamthunya, this is a neutral name.
He said: “Mulunguzi is the name of a river that run across the constituency while Utale is just a particular village. It won’t be fair to adopt Utale name as doing so would be doing injustice to people of the constituency.”
Other stakeholders believe naming the constituency ‘Utale’ would be ideal considering that Utale has a historical background as a mission station.
Speaking on Thursday at a stakeholders interface meeting, MEC Chairperson Justice Dr.Chifundo Kachale said that the commission will throw back the ball in the hands of the concerned stakeholders to bang heads again and reach a consensus in as far as the naming exercise is concerned.
The Electoral body has since set 16 May as a deadline for the concerned parties to have the matter resolved failing which, the commission will name the constituency according to its geographical position.
Another concern that ensued during the meeting was that the dermacation exercise had the potential to hinder development activities in some areas.
However, the MEC chair downplayed such assertions saying there are structures that are put forth within and beyond the constituency level that have the mandate to foster development.
“The stakeholders should be assured that this exercise will not adversely affect the implementation of development activities in the areas since there are already existing structures like Area Development Committees (ADC’s) that have the obligation to push for development,” Kachale said.
Kachale has since expressed satisfaction with the progress of the exercise in Balaka District Council despite some hitches surrounding the exercise in the district.
Currently, Balaka district has four constituencies and the Electoral Commission has proposed for the addition of one more constituency in the 2025 general elections.
The proposed constituencies are Ngwangwa, Ulongwe, Bwaila, Rivirivi and Utale.