Dowa — The Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) has called on the electorate in Dowa to register in large numbers once voter registration commences in the district so that they participate in voting for leaders of their choice during next year's tripartite elections.
MEC Commissioner, Moffat Banda, made the call on Sunday during activities which the electoral body organized to raise awareness on voter registration which is expected to start on July 13, 2018 in the district.
Banda said it was important that all eligible voters register in order to vote for candidates of their choice in next year's polls.
He then called on political parties in the district to be tolerant saying this was vital for a successful and peaceful electoral process.
Commissioner Banda said they organized the awareness activities which included a football bonanza to take advantage of the people who came to watch the game to inform them about MEC registration.
"We organized this bonanza because we knew that we can take advantage of the big crowd that comes to watch the game, which we know is a crowd puller, to deliver our message of voter registration, verification and voting," he said.
Banda acknowledged reports of low turnout for voter registration in some of the districts which fell under the first phase but said MEC had observed an improvement in the last days of the exercise.
"One of the reasons was that people are disgruntled with the leaders they elect in their constituencies who do not come back to participate in the development of their areas. Another is that they thought 14 days was a long period of time, but now many people are coming out knowing that the phase is drawing to an end," he said.
He however, called on all stakeholders to help bring awareness to the people on the importance of registering and voting saying the task was not only for the Electoral Commission.
"Sensitization is not the sole responsibility of MEC, which is why we had conducted meetings with various stakeholders to take part in sensitizing people about registration. Political parties too must be in the fore front sensitizing people about registering and voting," he said.
On his part, District Elections Officer for Dowa, James Gama said the district was ready for the registration process and had already received registration materials.
He said MEC, in conjunction with other stakeholders had reached out to many people in the district with messages on registration and expressed optimism that many will register.
Dowa United emerged winners of the football bonanza after beating Dzaleka by two goals to nil and went away with K75, 000 Cash and a trophy with the losers getting K50, 000.