Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) has said it will not provide transfer certificates to voters who have registered in one ward and want to vote in another because the process will complicate matters.
One of MEC’s Commissioners, Nancy Tembo disclosed this Friday during a public hearing on ward demarcation for Zomba City Council.
“Experience has shown that transfers bring about discrepancies at polling stations on the voting day. We therefore advise you to civic educate the masses that one will vote at the voting center in the ward where she/he lives and has to register there,” Tembo explained.
The MEC commissioner was answering a request from party leaders who requested the MEC public hearing to consider giving chance to people in Mtiya ward to still vote at Sawmill center which according to the MEC Map is outside city boundary thereby falling under the district council ward.
However, United Democratic Front (UDF) district chairperson, Lawrence Maere urged MEC to leave the centre as it is because people have been voting at the center in the past and felt there was no cause to change it only for next year’s elections.
People’s Party district chairman…… observed that although saw mill center is outside the city, it was important to maintain another centre closer in order to help the voters in the area which is hilly.
He was seconded by Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) governor, Jackson Twaliki who said the centre used to be under Zomba central constituency to help voters in the area and suggested to replace it with another center inside the ward within Zomba city boundary.
The chairman of the public hearing, Commissioner Reverend Ambassador Emmanuel Chimkwita Phiri agreed to the suggestions where Atuweni orphan care centre was proposed and replaced sawmill center.
Commissioner Chimkwita Phiri also said all the stakeholders in the district should start now preparing for the 2014 tripartite elections saying, “I am here to confirm that in 2014, we will have presidential, parliamentary and local government elections.”
On misconceptions of some chiefs in the country that the demarcation exercise of wards means new boundaries of chieftainships, Chimkwita Phiri clarified: “I wish to emphasize that our meeting is about demarcation of wards for the purpose of local government Elections. This meeting is about wards boundaries and nothing about chiefs’ boundaries. The commission has never and will never be responsible for traditional authority boundaries.”