The Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) has supportively addressed stakeholders’ concerns to have the dates for the voter registration exercise shifted in Chitipa District due to its terrain.
A number of stakeholders asked MEC to consider shifting the dates from the initial December to this month so that the district is not disadvantaged due to its many hard to reach areas during rainy season that could have affected the exercise.
MEC Chief Elections Officer (CEO), Willie Kalonga, said the voter registration exercise in the district will now be conducted from Tuesday next week, 15 to 28 October.
“Registration in the district will now take place in the sixth phase to run from 15 to 28 October, 2013. The Commission has made this decision following requests from the district that registration should be conducted earlier than planned before the rainy season. During the rainy season most of the areas might be difficult to reach and this can affect registration,” said Kalonga in a statement.
The registration exercise in Chitipa will be done alongside other areas to be covered under phase six which are Lilongwe City, Mchinji West, South and Southwest constituencies and also Dowa East, Southeast, Northeast, Central, West and North constituencies.
MEC said it was also reviewing registration dates for Rumphi, Nkhata Bay and Likoma districts with the aim of conducting registration earlier than planned.
“The Commission has mobilized enough personnel, equipment and materials to deploy extra 150 teams that will conduct voter registration in Chitipa,” said Kalonga.
MEC’s initial calendar indicated that the body will conduct the voter registration in the district from 5 to 18 December, 2013, a period during which the district usually has heavy rains that could have posed challenges in terms of transport as Chitipa is hilly and most earth roads become muddy.
Had it not shifted the dates, registration clerks as well as MEC officials would have problems to reach some parts in Kameme, Misuku, Bale, Wenya, Kapelemera and Nthalire, among others, and conduct the exercise.