Kasungu June 6, 2018: Progress of voter registration in Kasungu has worried monitors and stakeholders as fewer people have registered as compared to those who had registered around the same period (first half) in 2014 elections.
his was disclosed when Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) and United Nations (UN) officials paid a visit to a number of registration centres of Kasungu Central and South East.
In their remarks, Malawi Congress Party's (MCP) and Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) registration monitors at Mtunthama registration centre, Harry Moses and John Nkhata respectively, said people are not registering in high numbers as expected.
"We expected a lot of people to register this time around than in 2014, but it is the opposite instead. Last time, more than 330 people could register in a day but as of now Mtunthama registration centre has not registered such a number in a day yet," said Moses.
Moses and Nkhata added that people are confusing the National Identity (ID) card with the voter registration process as they think that the ID registration has made them eligible to vote.
"The voter registration process has been confused with the presence of the National Identity cards whereby people think that owning the ID will make them vote, which is not true," said Nkhata.
In a related development in Dedza where registration is also in process, Member of Parliament for Dedza South West, Clement Mlombwa said people are not going for registration because they were given wrong information during national Identity Cards (ID) registration.
"People were misguided during National Identity Card registration when they were told if they do not have that ID they would not be allowed to vote in the forthcoming election, so they were thinking that this ID [identification] card will be used to vote, that's why people are delaying to go for registration, thinking they registered already," lamented Mlombwa .
Commenting on the issue, Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) chairperson, Jane Ansah said as far as the registration process is going on well there is still hope that people will register in the coming last days as Malawians tend to do things last minute.
"MEC is still having hope that people will get registered in the coming last days as we Malawians have the tendency of flocking to the registration centres last minute. But we have hired a number of Public Address (PA) system equipment for mobile announcements to sensitize people again across the district," she said.
She added that if people do not register in high numbers, inappropriate leaders would end up winning and the former would be the ones complaining.
Ansah, therefore, urged candidates to take part in encouraging people in their constituencies to register as it is also their role.
"If people do not register in high numbers, this will affect choice of leaders, hence candidates need to tell the people to go and register as it is not only MEC's role to do that," said Ansah.
United Nations Residential Coordinator for Malawi, Maria Jose Torres said through what they had seen so far, there was hope that the elections would be fair.
"Malawi has invested a lot and the proper procedures are being followed in this registration process which is giving us hope that the elections will be fair enough," she said.
Meanwhile, Chankhanga Centre has registered 1027 only out of the 8000 projected number and 1500 people out of the 3000 projected number have registered at Kasungu RDP Centre while 1414 have registered at Kasungu ADD registration centre out of the 4973 expected people.