Malawi Congress Party (MCP) president Lazarus Chakwera is panicking as potential voters in the party’s stronghold Central Region have shunned him by refusing to register in the first phase of the voter registration exercise ahead of next year’s tripartite elections.
People in Kasungu, Dedza and Salima where the first phase of the registration took place told Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) officials that they would not participate in the elections.
“We are not going to register because our candidate (Chakwera) doesn’t win,” they told registration officials.
This is a resounding Vote of No Confidence in Chakwera and his party, which leaves them staring at a humiliating loss in next year’s elections.
And instead of blaming himself and his party for failing to impress the people why they should register to vote for them, he is shifting the responsibility on the electoral body.
On Thursday, Chakwera who is also leader of opposition in parliament and his officials were at MEC offices in Blantyre where they engaged in a three-hour meeting with MEC chairperson Justice Jane Ansah and other officials, raising concerns over the low turn out of voters in the Central Region for registration in the first phase.
MEC and National Initiative for Civic Education (NICE) Trust said in the media that in their investigations, people in Salima, Dedza and Kasungu said they opted to stay away from registering because the MCP candidates they voted for in 2014 failed to perform.
“In our meetings with chiefs, it was revealed that people didn’t want to come and register for the elections because those they elected during the last elections had failed them.
“Therefore, they don’t see the reason why they should vote again in the elections. They have lost hope and become frustrated. They don’t feel that their vote can make a difference in the next elections, ” said Justice Ansah said.
Interestingly, while Chakwera is keen to blame everyone for the people’s protest, he circulated a list of party officials who he had assigned to do mass awareness campaigns in those areas for people to register.
One of the party’s top officials Rhino Chiphiko told the media that they had set aside K150 million for the exercise. That project seems to have failed.
And Chakwera knows what that means, hence the desperation. The refusal by people in the Central region to register is a sledgehammer blow to Chakwera and MCP as this is the region where they get a lot of votes.
With people walking away, they are heading for a degree of loss they have not suffered in the previous elections.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :