….Chilima to know his fate June 18, 2025
…Parliament to dissolve June 16, 2025
…Pilot registration this November
The 2025 election season has already started, with the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) planning to start accreditation of some service providers this month and conduct a pilot registration exercise in November this year.
MEC launched its strategic plan and elections operations plan in Lilongwe, which reveals that political parties and other stakeholders have run out of time to set up own teams to monitor and prepare for elections whose winner is proving difficult to predict.
President Lazarus Chakwera, Vice President Saulos Chilima, Members of Parliament and Councillors have less than nine months to the start of official elections launch in May 2024 and thereafter, Parliament which has had a unique six-year term will dissolve a year later.
MEC plan shows that those that want to conduct civic and voter education will have to submit their accreditation once a call has been issued this or next month, while by November 1, parties would have to have some monitors to monitor pilot registration exercise.
Rolling out groundwork in 2023
For political parties, aspiring candidates, and other stakeholders, most of the ground preparatory work being done should be of interest of them, as following the activity calendar would be core to those wanting to succeed.
The national elections body has already finished its groundwork of ensuring new constituencies are demarcated and confirmed, that when it rolled out its strategic plan and operations plan in Lilongwe, it started driving the nation towards the elections which are about 24 months away.
Apart from the new constituencies, MEC has already signed an agreement with the National Registration Bureau and has had most of the new electoral laws passed by parliament including the now 50 +1 election for presidential elections.
Among the work slated for this year was consultative meetings with stakeholders on voters registration systems, gazetting boundaries for Constituencies and wards for 2025 General Elections, sensitization on the new representation and new voter registration centres for the elections.
National Elections Consultative Forum (Meeting) are also due on new boundaries and centres, while those who want to conduct Civic and Voter Education should be on the lookout as MEC will put out the call for applications this year.
A pilot registration is planned for the whole month of November which will be the last activity in 2023 in preparation for the 2025 elections.
Busy and get ready 2024
MEC will focus the first two months of 2024 or in the next five months, to sensitise stakeholders on the new election legislation and by end February release the list of those approved to conduct civic and voter education.
2024 promises to be the busy month, just as parties gear up for conventions and election of candidates, MEC expects to launch the 2025 General Elections on 16 May 2024 which will include a press briefing and unveiling of the civic and voter education strategy.
International Observers will be getting their invitations to the electoral process in July, while district elections teams will be busy in July receiving their briefs on conduct of elections, followed by meetings with Traditional Leaders and Religious Leaders on voter registration.
The Commission will Gazette the period of voter registration on 26 July 2024 while political parties and observers will have to submit the names of their representatives to MEC by end August to enable them to observe the registration process.
The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has announced that its convention to elect its presidential torch bearer in the elections and national executive committee.
August will see voter registration activities including distribution of civic and voter education materials for registration, media code of conduct and NECOF meeting on voter registration. This will be a very busy period for all stakeholders.
The Malawi Congress Party (MCP) expects to hold its elective convention during the same month of August.
MEC is expected to use vans to mobilise people to go and register to vote and eventually, exactly a year before the ballot is cast on 16 September 2024, voter registration will start that will run in six phases.
Aspiring candidates will know how much they have to pay as nomination fees on the 1st of November 2024 which will mark the end of electoral processes for 2024, though voter registration will be on going.
Time up, Time to elect New Leaders
The Tonse Alliance administration final budget will be presented a few months into 2025, but the elections machinery will be rolling from first January with sensitisation meetings on voters register inspection.
From February 3 to 9th voters can transfer from one centre to another and a NECOF meetings on Inspection of Voters Register, Nomination of Candidates and Interim Voters Register inspection will all be held between February and April.
On the 10th of April, MEC is expected to Gazette Notice of Presentation of Nomination papers – Presidential, Parliamentary and Local Government and open until 9th May, the collection of Local Government Nomination forms by prospective candidates from DCs.
Aspiring parliamentarians will collect their nomination forms from 10 April to June 13, while Presidential candidates will have to go to MEC Head offices to collect their nomination forms.
The 18th of April has been designated as Civic and Voter Education Day for the 2025 General Elections while on 24 MEC will announce the coming into effect of the new constituency and ward boundaries.
Prospective Local Council members will present their nominations papers at Constituency Tally centres from the 5th to 9th of May while the Commission will public the Local Government nominated candidates in the Gazette on 23rd of May.
Presidential and Parliamentary candidates will take turns from the 11th to 13th of June to present their nomination papers and Vice President Saulos Chilima who is likely to be UTM presidential candidate will have to wait until the 18th of June 2025 to see whether MEC will allow him to run. There are questions based on a 2009 ruling in the case of Bakili Muluzi, which one of the Judges indicated that the bar on third terms include vice president.
However, the Late Justin Malewezi run for office after serving two terms as a Vice President, which could be used by MEC to justify its approval of Chilima’s candidacy.
Parties will have a chance to vet ballot paper templates between the 3rd and 8th of July and the official campaign period is expected to start on the 15th of July with a NECOF meeting. From the 25th of July to the end of September parties can inspect printing and packaging Ballot papers and Results sheets.
Ballot papers will be printed from 1 August to 31st of August, the same time MEC will be training Presiding Officers and PSOOs on polling process in Constituency Tally Centres. There will be NECOF meeting and engagement of Stakeholders on Results Management.
The final putsch
Ballot papers will arrive between the 5th and 7th of September and the distribution to Tally centres from the Airport will start on the 10th for two days. Polling stations will start getting the ballot materials from the 13 to the 14th of September.
Official campaign will close on 14th at 6am, while the 15th will be for opening and pre-checking of polling materials including ballot papers at the centre with all stakeholders being involved from 09:00 am to 11:00 am.
Training of Polling Clerks on Polling Process by Presiding officers in Polling Centres will take place on the same 15th.
On 16th Malawians will go again for the 8th time to elect a President, Vice President, Members of Parliament, and Councillors to manage the affairs of the state until 2025.
Malawians will get results for their choice of new president by 24th of September, while MPs final results are expected to be out by 30th and for Councillors by 7th of October.
Likely to run, old faces and new faces.
President Lazarus Chakwera who is expected to lead the Malawi Congress Party, is expected to face his deputy Saulos Chilima (UTM) and his predecessor Professor Peter Mutharika (DPP).
The Investigator Magazine can reveal that there is a serious on-going consultations among politicians, academia and various interest groups to feature a fourth and strong candidate as voters are indicating dissatisfaction with some of the available choices.
Names of prominent Malawians including philanthropy advocate Stanely Onjezani Kenani, Bishop Martin Mtumbuka, Former President Joyce Banda, businessmen Thom Mpinganjira, Simbi Phiri and Nopolean Dzombe being mentioned as possible leaders of a non-party coalition.
Former Vice President Khumbo Kachali has also been meeting influential religious leaders and supporters in Mzuzu in what is being said as an attempt to form a Northen region block to bid for 50 + 1 vote to including a running mate from the region.
Former First Lady Callitsa Mutharika has ditched the UTM she helped to found and now is an MCP member who is geared to contest in Lilongwe Bunda constituency
Tentative MEC Key Events Dates to Note
August 2023 : Call for Accreditations for Civic and Voter Education providers
November 2023: Pilot Voter Registration
February 2024: Release of list of Accredited Civic and Voter Education list
May 16, 2024 : Press briefing on Launch of 2025 General Elections
July 1, 2024 : Invitations of International Elections Observers
August 2024 : Submission of Party Representatives for Voter Registration
September 16, 24 : Registration of Voters in Six Phases
November 1 : Nomination Fees Announcements
March 2025 : Inspection of Interim Voters register
April-June 25 : Collection of Nomination Papers by Presidential Candidates
May 5 -09, 25 : Presentation of Nomination papers for Local Government Elections
June 11-13, 25 : Presentation of Nomination Papers for Presidential and Parliamentary
June 18 & 27 : Gazette of Nominated Presidential and parliamentary candidates
July 15 : Launch of Official campaign period
August 2025 : Printing of ballot papers
Sept 5-9, 2025 : Arrival of Ballot Papers
Sept 14, 2025 : End of official campaign
September 16 : Voting Day and Public Holiday
Sept 17- 24 : Determination and Announcement of Presidential results
Sept 17-30 : Determination and Announcement of Parliamentary results
Sept 17-Oct 7 : Determination and Announcement of Local Government results
October 2025 : Deposit of electoral materials with Parliament