No voter disenfranchisement efforts, says Malawi Electoral Commission

The Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) says it has no intention to frustrate any potential registrant (s) in the ongoing voter registration exercise and does not take orders on its operations from any authority.

This follows reports and accusation that the electoral body deployed faulty equipment in some registration centers perceived as the stronghold of the former ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) during the third phase which concluded on September 7.

The placing of faulty equipment particularly in Phalombe East Constituency was mentioned as a deliberate ploy by government to block potential registrants in the area so that many do not vote in 2014 election to the detriment of the DPP.

But Mec Chief Elections Officer Willie Kalonga said while there was a challenge with a printer at Nanyowa Registration Centre, the Commission did manage the situation by printing the pictures at another registration centre and registration did not stop.

Kalonga: MEC will not frustrate voters
Kalonga: MEC will not frustrate voters

“The Commission wishes to put the record straight that it operates independently as per its constitutional mandate and does not take orders on its operations from any authority,” said Kalonga.

For the whole period, according to Kalonga, no one was sent back and the centre registered 1,715 voters against the projected 1,726, representing 99 percent achievement.

In 2010 the centre registered 1,401 voters and the Commission, for planning purposes and per advice from the National Statistical Office added 23 percent to this figure to get the projected target.

For the third phase, Phalombe has registered 115,744 voters against 97,230 registered in 2010 which is 19 percent up. The projected total for the areas covered under phase three was 119,799 voters and this represents 97 percent achievement.

“The general public should also know that in the current voter registration exercise, the Commission trained more technicians who have been placed at the councils to attend to faults as they are reported starting from phase one.

“The Commission is urging all electoral stakeholders to crosscheck facts with it before bringing them to the public to avoid creating confusion and misleading the public,” he advises.

He also indicated that the Commission will re-open all centres that did not open for the corresponding days for the mandatory 14 day period where all corrective measures failed.

“The Commission is geared to deliver a credible election in 2014 and this will be achieved with the collaborative efforts of all stakeholders,” he adds.

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