Karonga voters demand change on voter registration dates

People in Malawi’s northern district of Karonga are pushing for a change on the registration date which the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) allocated to them saying they will be busy cultivating in their fields.

According to MEC the registration exercise there is expected to be conducted from 5-18 December.

Speaking during whistle stop conducted by National Initiative for Civic Education (NICE) at Wiliro trading center, one of the residents, Tiyezge Sikwewa  said the registration date need to change to enable more people to participate in the exercise.

“The set date is the time when people will be busy cultivating in their fields as it will be raining here in Karonga and as you know we depend on farming to survive,” said Sikwewa.

Gondwe addressing  people at Wiliro trading centre.... picture by Tiwonge Kumwenda..Nyasa Times

Gondwe addressing people at Wiliro trading centre…. picture by Tiwonge Kumwenda..Nyasa Times

Sikwesa said they can’t leave their garden because of registration exercise.

“We already have the experience that those people who intend to stand as Members of Parliament, Councilors or Presidents do not fulfil their promises.  They need us during campaign time so we better do something that can benefit us,” he said

He also said besides its negative impact on farming and business, most youth who are legible to vote will be in different schools away from the district.

Assistant District Civic Education Officer Table Gondwe said he will refer the matter to the Malawi Election Commission.

“We are not the ones who set dates for registration. We are just assigned to civic educate and sensitize people on the registration that’s all. So maybe the MEC officials can have answers to that,” said Gondwe.

He said NICE had already communicated the concerns to MEC “but we are yet to get a response from them. So we have no option but continue doing our job as we are waiting the response.”

However Malawi Electoral Commission Clerk in the district Hastings Manda admitted having received the concerns saying they are just waiting to hear from the headquarters.

“Yes wherever we are conducting voter education exercise people are complaining bout the date of registration so we have referred the issue to the authorities and we are yet to get a response,” said Manda.

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