8 new polling centres in Mzuzu to lure more elderly voters

Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) in consultation with  electoral stakeholders  in Mzuzu has increased the number of  centres for voter registration and voting in Mzuzu  from 37 in 2014  to 45 ahead of the 2019 Tripartite Elections.

Njinkho: That is perfect

MEC District Elections Clerk for Mzuzu City Pilirani Simkonda said, in an interview othat  the increased centres are  expected to improve the voting experience of especially elderly people and those with special needs as these will now be walking shorter distances to the centres.

“In the wards  that we have added the centres , the distance  to the centres  was too far especially for the elderly and other special groups. So, we wanted to make the centres close to them so that we could encourage them to vote,” Simkonda said.

The new centres include; Thandaza and Mtende School in Lupaso Ward; Chibanja School in Chibanja Ward; Zambezi School in Mzilawaingwe, Masasa CDSS and Beehive in Masasa Ward; St Faustina School in  Luwinga Ward and Katawa School in Katawa Ward.

According to Simkonda,  the electoral stakeholders also considered  high population in some areas such as Chibanja when adding the new centres. The centres, mostly Government schools  will be used by MEC for the voter registration exercise  in October  as well as for voting in 2019.

Councilor for Luwinga Ward Khumbo Harawa expressed satisfaction with the additional polling centre in his Ward.

“We are happy that MEC  now has added another  polling centre which is St Faustino Primary School.  Previously there was an outcry from people residing close to St Faustino that the distance to the nearest polling centre which is the  Area 1 B School  was far,” said Harawa.

However, Member of Parliament for Mzuzu City, Leonard Njikho welcomed the  move to add the eight centres  but called on  MEC to consider adding more centres in areas with booming populations such as Mchengautuba West and Mchengautuba East.

“For those which have been added,  that is perfect. We do not have a problem. There are areas that we would have loved like Mchengautuba West Ward if  they could put a polling centre at Nkhokwe or Mageza since the population is high and the place is growing fast,” Njikho said.

“ Mchengautuba East  has a high population  but  the area has only two polling centres . If there was a facility near the  four ways  like a church to accommodate the stakeholders,  then that could have helped. In Masasa they have added Beehive and Masasa CDSS that is fine, I would have loved a polling centre at Napham for some who will not be able to walk long distances,” said the MP.

The  process of increasing the polling centres in Mzuzu  was led by MEC in response to concerns raised  by some councilors and the  Mzuzu City MP that the distance to polling centres in some wards  could  affect the turnout of eligible voters during  voter  registration in Mzuzu City  which  runs from  October 27  to November 9, 2018   under   phase eight of the voter registration exercise.


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