Balaka gets an additional constituency

Balaka District will now have five constituencies after Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC)added one toriginal four, MEC Chairperson, Justice Chifundo Kachale, announced on Thursday.

Kachale revealed this in Balaka during a stakeholders meeting which attracted several duty bears such as chiefs, councilors and ordinary citizens, to explain demarcations of the new constituency that the commission has come up with after engaging stakeholders for the past months.

He said this was done after considering several factors such as the number of eligible voters spread throughout the constituencies.

“We are proposing a change in the number of constituencies from four to five in Balaka.

“We have added Ngwangwa Constituency, which covers the town. With previous demarcations, the town was falling under two constituencies with so many eligible voters,” said Kachale.

Kachale: MEC has done several consultations.Pic by Mary Makhiringa (MANA)

Kachale, however, clarified fears from some stakeholders that some constituencies looked bigger than others, leading into delays in the development of such constituencies.

“Determinants for the size of a constituency are the number of eligible voters; remember that constituencies are platforms wherepeople are elected to go and serve in Parliament and the basis upon which people are elected is one.

“The law in Section 76 of the Constitution gives prominence to the number of eligible voters and acce of constituencies that we have cannot justify any extra constituency within Balaka,” he explained.

Speaking during the meeting, Senior Chief Inkosi Chanthunya hailed MEC for the additional constituency, saying this would help the central area to enjoy development which was not possible in the past as legislators were concentrating in rural areas.

Inkosi Chamthunya: the central are.Pic by Mary Makhiringa (MANA)

However, the Senior Chief expressed dissatisfaction with how the Balaka Mulunguzi Constituency has been demarcated.

“It is a very big area; it combines two traditional authorities which will make the person representing the area have hard times as he or she will have to represent a very big area.

“It could have been better if part of this constituency was given to Ngwangwa Constituency which has a small geographical area even though MEC is saying this is so because the area is highly populated,” he said.

Late last year, Malawi Electoral Commission embarked on constituency demarcation exercise programme which is a requirement by law.