The Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) has reiterated its stand not to extend the first phase of the voter registration exercise despite a general outcry to do so due to irregularities.
The first phase of the registration officially closed on Sunday, August 4, but in MEC allowed some people in selected centers to register on Monday, August 5, after they failed by closing time of the exercise on Sunday.
The phase covered all centers in Nsanje, Neno, Chikhwawa, Mwanza and only two constituencies in Blantyre- Kabula and City West.
However, there had been general outcry from stakeholders such as political parties, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), commentators as well as voters to extend the period because the exercise was marred by irregularities in most centers.
But the electoral body said it was impressed with the exercise’s overall conduct, particularly the turn out, hence seeing no need for extension.
“We are very impressed with the way the first phase of the registration has been conducted. Turn out has been quite impressive starting from the first day of the exercise on July 22, 2013,” MEC Spokesperson Sangwani Mwafulirwa said.
While admitting that some centers were rocked in irregularities, the spokesperson hinted that MEC had no plans to extend the period but had taken note of all the challenges encountered.
“We have noted all the challenges we had like equipment but these were isolated cases and our technicians were always on the ground to address them. As MEC we have put in place measures to ensure that all eligible persons are registered and avoid overcrowding at registration centres as we start the second phase,” he said.
Meanwhile, MEC has announced the second phase of the exercise will start this Thursday, August 8, in some districts in the Southern Region.
“The Commission is also pleased to announce that the second phase of voter registration will start on August 8, 2013 and run up to August 21, 2013. This phase will cover all the remaining constituencies in Blantyre City, all the constituencies in Blantyre and Chiradzulu Districts and Thyolo North constituency,” MEC says in its statement.