Malawi will for the first time since the re-introduction of multiparty politics in 1994 hold tripartite elections in 2014, a decision the country’s opposition said was a violation of the constitution. The government announcement follows the cancellation of Local Government Elections that were scheduled to be held this year.
“This means voters will be voting for the president, Members of Parliament and Councillors at the same time,” Local Government and Rural Development Minister Anna Kachikho said Monday. “Very soon I will be launching a guide, code of ethics and conditions of service related to local government structures.”
Kachikho said a bill has been prepared to amend the Constitution to allow for the holding of the tripartite polls. Originally the Constitution demanded for the Local Government Elections to be held a year after the holding of the Presidential and Parliamentary Elections. But Parliament, dominated by Pres Bingu wa Mutharika’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), amended the Constitution to empower the president to set for the elections.
Malawi has held no local elections since the year 2000 leaving Malawian cities in the queer state of being without mayors since the last councillors left office in 2005.
Kachikho, the Local Government and Rural Development Minister, said Malawi would have held the long-awaited elections in 2011 but plans were disturbed by the December 3 suspension of the Malawi electoral Commission over allegations that millions of dollars went missing at the elections body.
The suspension was, however, lifted on April 1, 2011, nineteen days to the scheduled April 20 poll date, after an audit found that no such money went missing. This prompted suggestions that the suspension of the electoral body was a ruse to run away from hold the elections.