By Elijah Phompho, MEC stringer
The Malawi Electoral Commision (MEC) has warned that the body shall not entrust partisan chiefs with any role to perform in the forth coming tripartite elections.
MEC Commisioner Elvey Ntafu said chiefs in the country are not supposed to favour any political party and neither are they supposed to declare support to candidates competing in the May 2019 general elections.
Commisioner Ntafu added that though chiefs have a right to belong to a political party just like any citizen, they are not supposed to openly show their political allegiance for fear of putting the electoral body in disrepute.
The warning comes a mid concerns of some chiefs in the country who are openly declaring their support to other presidential aspirants for 2019 elections. Some chiefs are also reportedly barring other political parties especially opposition political parties from holding rallies in their areas.
Commissioner Mtafu made the warning recently in Chikwawa at a meeting the electoral body organised for chiefs under senior chief Ngabu aimed at sensitising them on how they can take an active role in encouraging their subjects to take part in the forth coming elections.
“You see, chiefs are there for every one. That is why it is important for them not to show their party colours. As MEC we shall disassociate ourselves with partisan chiefs”, said commissioner Mtafu.
Mtafu added that chiefs command respect and influence from their subjects and would not want that influence to be abused.
On his part Group Village Headman Malemia who represented Senior Chief M’gabu at the meeting said he was committed to being non partisan in discharging his duties.
University of Malawi Political Scientist Enerst Thindwa concurred with Commissioner Mtafu on the need for the chiefs in the country to be neutral during elections.
However, Thindwa said most chiefs in the country would want to please the governing party to get special recognition and as such they are pro government.
The meeting was attended by over 40 chiefs from Senior Chief Ngabu in Chikwawa district.