Malawi’s President Joyce Banda on Wednesday morning registered to vote in the 2014 tripartite elections in which she will be seeking her own full mandate after completing the term of President Bingu wa Mutharika who died in office in April last year.
Banda was accompanied to register at Malemia Primary School in Domasi, Zomba by the First Gentleman, Richard Banda (retired Chief Justice), her two sons Roy and Geoff, daughters Edith, Kambe and Njaliwe, sisters Anjimile Mtila-Oponyo, Cecilia Kumpukwe and several other relations.
Speaking to the media after registering, the Malawi leader urged Malawians to register to vote, saying “registering to vote will enable you to carry out your civic duty of electing your leaders.”
President Banda said she could have registered to vote at State House centre or anywhere in Lilongwe where her official residence is but wanted to register at home and at the centre which was a stone throw to her birthplace.
State House Press Officer Tusekele Mwanyongo said in a Skype interview from Malawi’s old Capital, Zomba, that the President lined up to register as early as 7:30 am because of the importance she attaches to the exercise.
“President Banda has set a good example, which sends a strong message urging every Malawian of voting age to enlist their names in the voters roll and participate in actual voting,” said Mwanyongo.
So far, other presidential candidates are Lazarus Chakwera of MCP, Atupele Muluzi of UDF and Peter Mutharika of DPP.
Meanwhile, President Banda left for Namibia through Chileka International Airport in Blantyre on Wednesday to attend an extraordinary meeting of the Organ on Politics, Defence, and Security Cooperation of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) aimed at finding a lasting solution to the DRC conflict.
Briefing members of the press before departure, the President said also on agenda will be the political situation in Madagascar where efforts are being made to hold elections after years of political stalemate.
She is attending the meeting in her capacity as Chairperson of SADC.