Nkhatabay residents fail to register in voters roll due to congestion

Huge turn up in registration centers in the Malawi’s lakeshore Nkhatabay district has forced officials demanding more staff to contain the situation.

A visit by Nyasa Times to some of the registration centres in the district revealed some people going home without being registered due to long queues, and the registration officers could work until 7pm  instead of the official closing time 4pm

“We need at least one more centre here so that we can be able to register more than what we do now because many go back home without registered due to understaffing,” said a supervisor at Mpemba Centre, Raphael Longwe.

Longwe said the situation becomes worse especially in the afternoon as people come in large numbers to register, and expressed fears that the exercise may close in the district and leave some people unregistered.

Voter registration exercise

Nyasa Times also observed that some centres   registers up to 300 people a day, a development that Regional Civic Education Officer for National Initiative for Civic Education (NICE) in the north Enock Chinkhuntha said is more than commendable.

“This clearly indicate that these officers are really doing recommendable job since it is not easy to register even more than 200 people a day hence the need to consider their demand for more clerks,” said Chinkhuntha during a briefing with journalists at NICE office in Nkhatabay.

Other centres experiencing congestion include Nkhatabay boma, Chintheche, Tukombo   and Msanu.

One of the Supervisors Christina Chirwa warned that  “many people will not register by the closing date if the appeal for more staff  is not considered because those going back without getting registered become discouraged and may not come next time”.

Responding to the concerns, Nkhatabay District Commissioner Fred Mvete said he has written Malawi Electoral Commission to establish satellite centers in some areas to reduce congestion.

The exercise which started onNovember1 closes November 14.

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