Malawi voter registration kick-starts July, says MEC’s Tembo

Malawi Electoral Commission says it is planning to start voter registration exercise during the third week of July, as the commission’s next major electoral event.

Commissioner Nancy Tembo who is also chairperson of the Media, Civic and Voter Education Committee said this on Wednesday in commercial capital Blantyre during opening of a briefing meeting for civic and voter education service providers from the Southern Region.

Tembo also disclosed that the Commission will soon officially announce the launch of the 2014 Tripartite Elections where the electoral calendar outlining the major activities that the Commission will undertake prior to the May 20 Tripartite Elections will be released.

“The release of the calendar will help you (CSOs) plan your activities and inform the public about the major electoral events such as registration, nomination, campaign, polling and announcement of results.

Malawi Electoral Commission

Tembo: Registration starts in July

“It is our plea that the accredited CSOs will use every available resource and means within their reach to inform and mobilize the public to participate in these very important events and it the wish of the Commission to see as many people participating in the various electoral processes as candidates and as voters,” she said.

Commissioner Tembo also said the EC Commission will conduct fresh registration for the 2014 Tripartite Elections.

“It is the wish of the Commission to have all voters register at centers in their wards.  Your message, therefore, is to mobilize every eligible voter to register in a ward of where they reside.  All those that are of the age of 18 or will be 18 on 20 May 2014 should go to the centres and register,” she said.

She said everyone is expected to register regardless of whether they registered in 2006 or not.

“Being fresh registration, new voter ID cards will also be issued. The cards that were used during the past elections will not be valid for the Tripartite Elections.”

Meanwhile Tembo is asking the CSOs to be vigilant in instilling interest in people so that they should be a huge voter turnout during the elections.

“You should, therefore, come up with programmes aimed at increasing voter turnout, through targeting of the various sections of our society. CSOs should be innovative enough to develop programmes that attract first time voters such as the youth. The youth regard voting as being not cool,” she said

The other sector of the society that needs special attention Tembo said is that of women who form the majority of voters but minority of candidates.

She said CSOs should tailor make programmes to encourage women to participate as candidates and as well as voters.

She said other marginalized groups such as the elderly and people with disabilities should also have programmes specially tailored for them.

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