Nkhata Bay District Council has expressed concern that Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) accredited by Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) have not yet started conducting voter and civic education in the district.
MEC accredited Mzuzu Young Voices, Centre for Youth Empowerment and Civic Education, NEST, Youth Net and Counselling (Yoneco), Mbaweni Youth Association, World Fit for Children, Phunzilani Development Organisation and Foundation for Children’s Rights.
Speaking recently during a District Executive Committee meeting, Nkhata Bay District Commissioner (DC) Rodney Simwaka said there is need for serious civic education now that MEC will use voter biometric registration system.
Basically, the biometric system will involve use of National Identification (ID) cards during voter registration which means only those with the IDs will be allowed to register.
MEC has since arranged to have National Registration Bureau staff at voter registration centres to allow those that did not register during the recent mass national ID registration exercise to register for both at one venue.
“Communities need to be sensitized on the importance of registering using voter biometric,” Simwaka said.
National Initiative for Civic Education (NICE) District Manager Lucy Kaluwa said it is only NICE who are on the ground civic educating the communities on registration which starts October this year in the district.
“We are now busy civic educating the communities using football bonanzas on the importance of registering for the forthcoming tripartite election next year,” Kaluwa said.
Yoneco’s Nkhata Bay District Manager Dunreck Pande said his organisation is looking for funds to start the civic education.
But Nkhata Bay District Electoral Clerk Master Nthali said apart from accrediting CSOs, MEC has employed constituency civic education assistants.
Meanwhile, phase one of voter registration starts on 26th June in Kasungu, Salima and Dedza districts. Nkhata Bay, Likoma, Mzimba and Mzuzu are in the last phase (eight) which will start on 27 October, 2018.