Malawi commences registration for 2014 tripartite elections

The Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) Monday commences registration for the 20th May, 2014 tripartite to elect a ward councillor, a Member of Parliament and the State President.

The exercise which is in 10 phases will be conducted in five districts in the Southern Region.

The first phase of the registration will cover the whole districts of Nsanje, Chikhwawa, Neno and Mwanza. In Blantyre registration will take place in the Mbayani, Michiru and South Lunzu all from Blantyre Kabula Constituency, and Blantyre City Central and Chilomoni both in Blantyre City West Constituency.

Registration will be done in 10 phases spanning 14 days each. Registration centres will open from 8am to 4pm including public holidays and weekends.

Justice Mbendera: Registration kicks-off
Justice Mbendera: Registration kicks-off

The registration exercise commences as most civil society organisations accredited to conduct voter and civic education have not mobilised resources to implement their activities in the first phase.

MEC chairman Maxon Mbendera in a statement released Saturday said Commission is conducting fresh registration and this means that everyone will have to register whether they registered during previous elections or not.

“To register, you need to be a Malawian citizen or someone who has ordinarily been a resident of the country for the past seven years, and be above the age of 18 or will turn 18 on May 20, 2014,” Mbendera said in a statement widely circulated to journalists in Malawi.

Those eligible to register are required to take a valid identification document such as a passport, even though it might be expired, a driving licence, a student identity card, marriage certificate, a birth certificate, employment identification document or an old voter certificate.

Eligible registrants may also go with someone who has registered already to bear witness for you,” he said.

Mbendera has warned people from registering more than once saying it is a criminal offence.

He said apart from being prosecuted those found to have breached the law will also be disqualified from participating in electoral activities.

“That means you cannot be allowed to register or contest as a candidate,” he stated.

Meanwhile, MEC chief elections officer Willie Kalonga said the commission has mobilized enough human resources and equipment to open all centres by Monday at 8am.

Kalonga said the commission has trained 715 operators and 715 quality control managers for the registration exercise.

The commission has created 550 new registration centres with the aim of bringing closer to people, he said. The national sum of registration centres is 4 448.

Kalonga said the commission has intensified civic education campaign to reach out to all eligible registrants in the five districts of the first phase.

“The commission has been conducting public meetings with chiefs and their subjects, distributing letters, stickers, flyers and pamphlets to head teachers, faith leaders, traditional leaders and members of the general public on top of programmes and jingles that have been run on various radio stations,” said Kalonga.

The commission has since urged all political parties, traditional and faith leaders, employers, parents, school head teachers and all those in authority to encourage all persons who are eligible to go and register.

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