Secretary General for the Episcopal Conference of Malawi (ECM), Fr. Henry Saindi has urged members of the Catholic Church to register when the voter registration exercise begins in their respective areas to have an opportunity of voting in the 2019 general elections.
Saindi made the appeal Sunday during a mass celebrated at St. Augustine Cathedral Parish in Mangochi.
He said it was important for the Catholic faithful to participate in national activities including voter registration for them to be able to elect leaders of their choice during the May 21, 2019 Tripartite Elections.
"It is a requirement for every eligible person to register to vote in next year's elections in exercise of one's democratic right," Saindi emphasized.
Saindi, however, advised the Catholic faithful to engage in discussions reflecting on the Pastoral Letter released by Catholic Bishops on April 29, this year (2018) to vote into power candidates with good quality leadership characteristics.
"It is imperative for members of the church to engage in a healthy debate at all levels of the church (from small Christian community to parish) to scrutinize and evaluate those aspiring for positions so that we choose people who are God-fearing and those with good [intentions] of the nation at heart," he said.
The ECM Secretary General also said the church is particularly encouraging members of the Catholic family to take part in all the activities outlined in the electoral calendar such as registration, campaign and the actual casting of the ballot.
"Our Bishops are calling on us to avoid being agents of violence during political campaign rallies so that the elections will be free, fair and credible," he said.
Meanwhile, the Malawi Electoral Commission is conducting the biometric voter registration in phases with Kasungu, Dedza and Salima being in the first phase which ends on July 9.
The whole registration exercise, which takes place for a period of two weeks in each district, is expected to finish in November this year across the country.