By Elijah Phompho, MEC Stringer
The on-going voters verification and registration exercise for next month by elections has started on a low note in chikwawa , raising fears of a possible voter apathy in the upcoming by elections.
This was observed on Thursday during an inspection exercise, Malawi Electoral Commission(MEC) Commissioner Arthur Nanthulu conducted in some registration centers in Lalanje ward where the by elections are to be held in the district.
During the inspection, it transpired that only a few of already registered voters are verifying their names while those who did not register during the 2019 tripartite elections are not forth coming.
At Magoti Primary school registration center for instance, where Commissioner Nanthuru commenced his inspection exercise on Thursday morning, no new voter had registered at the time of his inspection while only two had verified their names.
The situation was almost the same at Nyamitala, Thangadzi , Bangura and Mpasamanja primary school registration centers in the district where commissioner Nanthuru inspected progress of the registration and verification exercise.
However speaking to the media after inspecting the registration exercise, MEC commissioner Nanthuru expressed optimism of registering more people during the exercise which is to run for fourteen days.
“Generally by elections in the country have not been attracting much interests. Most people in the country tend to shun away especially when it’s a local government by elections like in this area.
However as the electoral body, we are optimistic of registering a good number of people during this by-elections before the end of the registration exercise.
“ Already I have been told that people have started coming to register just that they did not have national identity cards hence they were turned back.
“ However, I am appealing to all people who did not register during the 2019 Tripartite elections to ensure that they have national IDS when coming to register.
For those who already registered they are still encouraged to come and verify their names,” said Commissioner Nanthulu.
Prior to the voters and verification exercise, the electoral body has been engaging religious leaders , chiefs and political parties, lobbying them to assist the electoral body in sensitising the electorates to take part in the up-coming by-elections, a call they all vowed to implement.
The registration of new voters and verification of those who already registered is being conducted concurrently in Lalanje ward in Nsanje Lalanje constituency and Chikwembere ward in Blantyre North constituency where the incumbent ward councilors for the area passed on while in Nkhata Bay central constituency where the 2019 parliamentary outcome was nullified, only those who registered are required to verify their names.
The voters verification and registration exercise commenced on 26th may and is expected to finish on 8th June.