NICE confident about high voter turnout in by-elections despite Covid-19 scare, rains 

The National Initiative for Civic Education (Nice) Public Trust says it is confident that tomorrow’s by-elections will draw a huge voter turnout because there was massive and intensive voter mobilization activities and the level of competition among the contesting candidates.

Munthali: There is an election fever in Karonga

The pollster Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) is expected to conduct by-elections in seven constituencies and two wards.

The March 30, 2021, polls are scheduled to take place in Ntchisi North, Karonga North West, Nsanje Central, Nsanje North, Chikwawa East, Zomba Changalume, Lilongwe Msinja South, Liviridzi ward in Balaka West, and Chitakale ward in Mulanje South.

The by-elections are unique because they taking place amid rainy season and in the midst of the Covid-19 wave, which could potentially threaten the participation of some voters.

However, the NICE District Civic Education Officer (DCEO) for Karonga, Christobel Munthali, speaking during voter mobilization activities in the districtd, allayed fears that rains and Covid-19 could affect the turnout.

“Generally, there is an election fever that has gripped Karonga North West constituency. There are eight candidates contesting and everyone is campaigning hard. This level of competition has caused some excitement among the voters,” Munthali said.

“We have also carried out intensive mobilization sessions together with other stakeholders including the MEC and these activities are ongoing. Additionally, the campaign has generally been peaceful. All these factors combined, we envisage high voter turnout in these elections. We just appeal to MEC to ensure that there is reliable transport so that results are not delayed in getting to the district tally centre,” Munthali said.

Karonga North West constituency fell vacant following the death of legislator James Kamwambi.

Malawi Congress Party, UTM, Democratic Progressive Party and Alliance for Democracy are some of the parties that have fielded candidates in the constituency.

Meanwhile, MEC has announced that the elections will take place while observing Covid-19 guidelines.

In a statement signed by the electoral body’s Chief Elections Officer Sam Alfandika, MEC says it has sourced 320 000 masks, which will be distributed for free to voters and electoral staff in addition to hand washing facilities that will be planted in all poling centres.

At least 290, 000 people are expected to cast their ballots in the by-elections in all the seven constituencies and two ward.

 

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