Malawi’s Parliamentary and Local Government By-elections faced low voter turn-out although about 68,000 people had registered to vote in the Tuesday’s (December 22nd) polls.
Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) held by-elections in Zomba Chisi Constituency, Ngala Ward in Lilongwe Msozi North Constituency, and Mtope Ward in Mchinji West Constituency.
But since the polling started at 6am in morning, handful voters turned out to cast their votes at most polling stations, Mec stringers disclosed.
Mec Stringer in Lilongwe, Deborah Manda revealed that as of 9:30 this morning, about 48 voters had casted their votes at Kachitsa school in Ngala ward, Lilongwe while Chadza school which has two streams-A has 1169 registered voters and B has 1168; only 100 had voted.
In Ngala ward in Lilongwe 15330 people registered to vote in 9 polling centres.
Zomba Chisi Constituency also experienced low turnout in most polling centers as people were seen still working in their gardens, reported Mec Stringer, Beaton Makina.
The situation was even evident in Mtope ward in Mchinji where about 106 voted at Kathyuka polling centre and 119 at Chioko polling centre, and out of 1,181 registered voters, only 52 had so far voted a Chivawa in Mchinji as of 12 noon.
Mec Media and Public Relations Manager, Sangwani Mwafulirwa attributed said they expected the situation to improve in the afternoon as people were in their gardens during the morning time.
“While some centres had warm turnout others had less people trickling in the morning. This is not
uncommon with by-elections more especially considering that this is farming season,” explained Mwafulirwa.
Some voters would want to go to their gardens first and come for polling in the afternoon”.
Mwafulirwa could not admit on fears that the by-elections might have experienced voter apathy as witnessed by the number of people turning out to cast their votes.
He said: “When the polls close today, that is when we can have a clearer picture of voter turnout”.
Mec is expected to announce the determination on the results for the by-elections on Wednesday afternoon at Sunbird Mount Soche Hotel.
In Zomba, Mec held Parliamentary by-election following the death of legislator, Chidzaro
Peter Mangulenje who was, until his death, deputy secretary general for the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).
In Lilongwe Ngala Ward elections were held after its councillor resigned while in Mchinji Mtope Ward it is due to the death of the councilor.
Only the ruling DPP, the main opposition, Malawi Congress Party (MCP), the Peoples Party (PP) and
independent candidates contested in the by-elections. The United Democratic Front (UDF) did not field any candidate.