12 July 2018

Malawi: Dedza Hits 75 Percent of Projected Registered Voters

Dedza — Over 300, 000 people in Dedza have registered to vote in next year's general elections during the voter registration exercise that was conducted from 26th June to 9th July this year, Malawi News Agency (Mana) has learnt.

In an interview with Mana on Wednesday, district commissioner for Dedza Ellis Tembo said that so far, 302, 623 people have registered.

This figure represents 75 percent of the projected figure for the district, which stands at 401, 000.

The development put to rest fears that were rife in the first week of the exercise with prevailing reports of low turn-out in the majority of registration centres.

"The figures are fair considering the reports that were going around at the beginning of the exercise," Tembo said.

"The absence of long queues made some people to concluded that there is low turn up. But they forgot that the biometric system is very fast and people registered within minutes."

The district commissioner is hopeful that the projected figure is likely to be met once figures from all centres are collated.

"We are remaining with four centres, which are yet to be aggregated because the personnel for these centres did not bring the computers at the tally centre. We will have the final figures once data from all centres is collected," he said.

Dedza has a total of 237 voter registration centres.

Speaking in a separate interview, District Civic Education Officer for National Initiative for Civic Education (NICE) in Dedza Patrick Siwinda said his office is impressed with the current figures because it is a true reflection of eligible voters committed to cast their vote next year.

His sentiments is based on the contrasting figures and motive of voters who registered for 2014 tripartite elections.

"In the last elections, we had people who registered for the sake of getting a Malawi Electoral Commission identity card for other purposes such as identification in banks.

"This time around, people already have their Malawian National Identity Cards and have the desire to exercise their right to vote in the forthcoming general elections," Siwinda said.

In 2014 tripartite elections, Dedza had about 300,000 registered voters out of the projected figure of 350,000 but only 50 percent voted.

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