A call has gone out to religious leaders to exercise fairness and objectivity ahead of the March 26, 2024, by-elections in Kaporo (Karonga North), Chilanga and Rukuru (Karonga North-West) wards.
The three councillors were convicted of offences involving dishonesty which automatically rendered the seats vacant and according to Sections 23 and 47 of the Presidential, Parliamentary and Local Government Elections Act.
Speaking during a roundtable with the clergy, commissioner for the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) Emmanuel Fabiano said by virtue of their influence over the masses, religious leaders need to engage the electorate in a fair manner.
He said: “They meet these people almost on daily basis, they have the capacity to engage the people and pass on the message on the importance of the general public to go and register in order to vote.”
Fabiano added that the religious leaders need to let people make their own informed choices on their preferred candidate without being influenced by them.
“Everybody is free to join any other congregation, we don’t choose so we should also choose who to support as religious leaders.
“They should be supporting everybody and leave it to the rest of the people to make their own choices,” Fabiano said.
The official campaign period started on January 24, 2024. In accordance with legal requirements, the campaign shall conclude at 6:00 AM on March 24, 2024.