Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) chairperson Chifundo Kachale has challenged political parties to be conversant with the new electoral laws to ensure a smooth electoral process in the 2025 Tripartite Elections.
Speaking in Dowa on Wednesday when he opened an electoral laws meeting which brought together MEC commissioners, officials from the National Registration Bureau (NRB), registered political parties and members of the Centre for Multiparty Democracy, he described the meeting as important.
Kachale, a judge of the High Court of Malawi, said: “This meeting is very significant because it is the first time that MEC will be using the amended electoral laws to implement an electoral activity. So we believe it is important that we engage our stakeholders who are political parties to make sure that they are fully aware of the changes.
“For example, the polling time has changed from 6am to 6pm to 6am to 4pm and voters need to be aware of the changes so that they do not miss the voting time.
“Again, previously people would insult each other during the campaign but were not answerable, now it’s a criminal offence to utter insulting words during the campaign.”
According to the new Presidential, Parliamentary and Local Government Act, registration for the 2025 Tripartite Election slated to begin in September 2024 will only be based on national identity cards (IDs).
In her remarks, UTM Party secretary general Patricia Kaliati urged the NRB to scrap the K2 500 fee for national ID replacement or renewal in view of economic challenges facing the country.
In his response Kaliati on efficiency, NRB Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Homeland Security Mphatso Sambo said discussions are underway to remove the ID replacement fees as well as the requirement for a police report.
The new laws became operational in June this year.