Malawi: Mzuzu University Students Granted MEC's Permission to Vote Elsewhere

Polling started on a peaceful and timely note in most polling centres in Mzuzu except for St Augustine where some students from the nearby Mzuzu University (Mzuni) were lobbying electoral officers to enable them to vote from the centre after they failed to process voter transfers from their home centres earlier this year.

Mzuzu University students were finally allowed to vote at St Augustine Centre in Mzuzu.

Peace and calm has now returned among MZUNI students after an announcement by MEC granting their request.

The MEC issued a statement indicating that it has considered the plight of students by granting the students the "authority to vote elsewhere".

Lewis Kapesa Mzuzu University Students Council president expressed his gratitude to MEC for responding to the plea of the students.

" The challenge that we had was that not everybody was able to go to their different homes that is students. So the only option was that students who could not afford to go home and should vote in Mzuzu City not only at St Augustine.

"I am very happy and as students we are very much happy because we can express our right to vote because it is our right to vote because we are citizens in this Country and we would like to extend our gratitude to MEC for considering us," Kapesa said.

The Decision by MEC is expected to enable the Country to harness the demographic dividend of the youth in these Elections by enabling more youth to vote easily from centres near their schools.

The statement which has been signed by the MEC CEO Mr Sam Alfandika today May 21 partly reads:

" Students will also be allowed to vote upon production of a valid voter certificate that will be verified by dialing *2019# and presentation of "Authority to vote elsewhere obtained from the CRO where the Centre they wish to vote from is located."

At a recent meeting between MEC and chiefs in Mzimba North Constituency, a representative of traditional Authority Mtwalo made a similar plea for an opportunity to enable Ezondweni Technical College students to vote from Ezondweni. The decision by MEC is expected to enable the Country to harness the demographic dividend of youthful voters in this Election as youth are forming the majority of registered voters in today's elections.

And a youthful voter who has braved long queues to vote at Mchengautuba Primary School Centre, 21 Year Old Gift Chirambo, has since called on young people who registered to vote to vote in their masses.

"My fellow young men come out to vote without fear. Come and vote with all your heart," Chirambo said.

In the elections registered voters in Malawi are voting to elect 193 legislators, 462 ward councilors and a President.

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