Voter registration for Malawi’s 2014 polls ends

Voter registration for phase nine ends on Wednesday, December 18, which will also mark the official closure of the process ahead of Malawi’s anticipated highly-contested 2014 Tripartite Elections.

The first phase of the exercise started on July 22, 2013 in Nsanje, Neno, Mwanza, Chikhwawa and Mbayani, Michiru, South Lunzu, Blantyre City Central and Chilomoni Wards in Blantyre City.

In total the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) projected to register about 8million Malawians which was, however, higher than the 2009 general elections where 6.5million electorates were registered.

MEC Spokesperson Sangwani Mwafulirwa said in an interview with Nyasa Times that they would announce the total number of registrants before end of the year.

Mwafulirwa: MEC spokesman says last phase
Mwafulirwa: MEC spokesman says last phase

Commenting on the overall exercise, Mwafulirwa said the commission was satisfied with how it was conducted despite a few hitches in selected centers most of which were effectively rectified.

“It has been a successful exercise, the turnout has been marvelous considering that in most centers we registered more than what we had projected,” he told Nyasa Times on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, MEC is urging all people in areas covered under phase nine of voter registration, who are yet to register, to go to their nearest centre in their ward to register before 4.00pm on Wednesday.

Phase nine is covering Nkhotakota and Salima districts, Mzuzu City, Mzimba South, Mzimba Solola, Kasungu North, Kasungu North-West, Kasungu South and Kasungu South-East constituencies.

“The commission has put in place measures to ensure that all eligible persons register and also to avoid overcrowding at the registration centres. All registration staff have been advised that all registrants who cannot be processed by close of business on Wednesday, December 18, 2013 should be recorded and processed on priority on Thursday. Please take note that this applies only to those who will present themselves for registration by4.00pm on December 18, 2013,” MEC said in a statement signed by the Chief Elections Officer (CEO), Willie Kalonga.

MEC is also informing the public that some centers in Mzimba, Mzuzu City and Nkhotakota District will have a one or two more days of extension because they failed to open during the period of registration.

This, it clarifies, has been done to fulfill the legal requirement that a registration centre should open for not less than 14 days.

The centers are Dimi Primary School (Mabiri Ward) in Mzimba South and Mchengautuwa II School in Mchengautuwa East Ward in Mzuzu City which will all be opened on 19th and 20th December.

The other centers are Bangwe and Chongole Primary Schools in Mtosa Ward (Nkhotakota South-East) then Mthila and Kauye Primary Schools in Mpama Ward in Nkhotakota South all of which will open on December 19.

According to MEC electoral calendar revised on November 12, 2013, the commission’s first activity after the festive season will be gazette notice of presentation of nomination papers for aspirants on January 3, 2014.

Thereafter, between 6th and 15th January, the commission will be briefing returning officers on nomination of candidates before the presentation of nomination papers to returning officers to take place from 10 to 14 February, 2014.

Malawi goes to the polls next May to elect, for the first time, councillors, members of parliament and president.

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