Low turn-out marred the Matenje Ward By-election, with only 3051 people out of 15760 who registered, participating .However, while attributing the low turn out in the Matenje Ward to rains that fell in some polling centres, Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) Chaiperson Dr. Jane Ansah said Malawi needs an in-depth research on why local government by-elections always attract low voter turn-out since.
She said, since 2000, no local government by election has attracted voter turn out beyond 40 percent, and therefore it would be wrong to attribute the Matenje Ward scenario to the ongoing presidential election case at the Constitution Court in Lilongwe.
Said Ansah: “The issue of low voter turnout is something that has characterized Local Government Elections for a long time. This should also preempt those that might want to make a case that the low voter turnout in Matenje Ward is because of the current political impasse and the ongoing court cases against MEC.
“Statistics are showing that there has never been a ward that has attained 40 percent voter turnout and there are several that have registered lower voter turnout than Matenje ward before.
“On its part, the Commission is concerned with this trend and would want to get to the root cause. There is need to talk to the voters why they do not show up for voting. Some of the factors might be exogenous to MEC and we might need as stakeholders to join hands and reverse this trend.”
Officially determining the results, Ansah declared Descent Msatero Chipangula of Malawi Congress Party (MCP) the winer with 1,489 votes, followed by Nelson Maseko of Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) with 1,203 votes.
Chrifford Joseph Mbewe, an Independent came third with 185 votes,followed by Vincent Phiri Mbakuwaku of Movement for Development (MMD) with 119 votes. Shadreck Mvula, another Independent came last with 55 votes.
UTM Party pulled out of the voting recently, although its candidates standing as independent, while People Party (PP) and othr 50 registered political parties did not participate
Voting in Matenje Ward was supposed to take place simultaneously with that of parliamentarian for Lilongwe South Constituency. However, MEC postponed the by-election in the constituency due to political violence during campaign.
Matenje Ward is in Kasungu North West Constituency, which is regarded a strong hold of MCP.
The vacancy in Matenje Ward, arose following the death of Councillor Alick Kambanizithe Banda on September 18, 2019. The late Councillor Banda was elected during the May 21, 2019 elections.