Biometric system enhance efficiency of entire  voter process –  MEC

The use of Biometric System enhanced the efficiency of the entire voter registration process and Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) assures the nation that it is prepared to administer the May 21 Tripartite Elections a fair, impartial and credible manner.

The biometric machine

MEC’s Chief Elections Officer Sam Alfandika made the assurance on Tuesday when he addressed the Parliamentary Committee on government assurances and public services, which had invited the Commission to be briefed on the progress made on the preparatory activities for the upcoming tripartite elections and the challenges MEC is facing.

He reported that the voter registration was successful in which MEC registered a total 6,859,570 voters.

“Out of this number, a total of 3,813,578 are women; representing 56 percent while 3,045,992 are men; representing 44 percent.

“Other interesting statistics are that the youth, defined as persons less than 35 years of age, represent 54 percent of all registered voters having tallied 3,729,588 registrants. Of this youth vote, 2,113,620 are females representing 57 percent while 1,615,968 are males representing 43 percent.”

On the efficiency of the Biometric Voter Registration System, Alfandika said it helped to also clean out cases of multiple registrations and a total of 13,244 records were deleted.

“The Commission has made a decision to report these cases to the Malawi Police Service for investigation and prosecution of all those that will be found to have had a guilty mind. I am able to state with full confidence and certainty that the Voters Register that has been produced by the Commission this time around is the most credible Voters Register in the history of elections in Malawi.

“You may recall and wish to compare with what happened in 2014, whereby the Commission had to call off a voter verification exercise because of inconsistencies and deficiencies of the voters register.

“However, this time around the issue was different. The exercise did not have such cases and this has enhanced the trust which the Commission has in the voters register.”

He also reported that all entries appearing in the Voters Register were successfully verified by the voters themselves, political parties, and all electoral stakeholders through physical verification in their centers as well as using the SMS system on both TNM and Airtel, saying over 530,000 used this facility.

On the nomination of candidates that took place from 4th to 8th February, he said MEC received 24 presidential nominations from 9 independent candidates and from 15 political parties and that three were women.

“However, at the end of the nomination exercise, the Commission received back 10 nomination papers and rejected three nomination papers from independent candidates. The Commission is currently analysing the nomination papers to ensure there is total compliance with the provisions of the law.

“In this period, the Commission urges the public to furnish the Commission with important ineligibility details of those who submitted nomination papers should they have information that could prove ineligibility of any of the candidates, whether Local Government, Parliamentary or Presidential Elections.

“The Commission shall review the queries received from citizens and informants and should it be sustained, the candidates shall be disqualified.

“I should also be quick to mention that a candidate can be disqualified at any point during the elections period should it avail that the candidate suppressed material facts regarding eligibility which if it were known during nomination, the candidate could not have been allowed to contest.”

He said the Commission is expected to release the official names for Presidential elections within seven days from conclusion of receipt of nomination papers and within 14 days for Parliamentary candidates. For Local Government candidates, the names will be released within 21 days from conclusion of nomination process.

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