The National Initiative for Civic Education (NICE) Trust has expressed concern over the low turnout of eligible voters and some confusion in the way null and void votes were determined in the just ended October 17th by-elections.
NICE Trust Executive Director Ollen Mwalubunju expressed the concern on Friday during a news conference held at Grace Bandawe Conference Centre in Blantyre, saying the factors are cause for concern as the country approach the tripartite elections in 2019.
Mwalubunju said voter apathy remains a challenge around the world and the same was observed during the just ended by-elections in Malawi.
“Voter apathy is big a challenge not only in Malawi but in most countries in the world where elections have been happening. As you know, for any elections, we would like to see the majority of citizens elect a person into an office but this is not what we are seeing,” he said.
Mwalubunju said as NICE Trust, they tried their best to motivate and civic educate citizens on the importance of voting but the numbers were still disappointing.
According to the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC), a total of 160,476 people registered as voters in the by-election but only 48,025 people voted representing 29.93 percent of the registered voters.
According to Mwalubunju, NICE will conduct a research to establish why most people in the country are not participating in such important exercises.
Nice also noted that ruling DPP and main opposition MCP supporters were “verbally aggressive” towards each other in the by-elections campaign characterised by hate-speeches particluary in Nsanje Lalanje.