Voter Verification exercise ends on a low note in Chikwawa
By Elijah Phompho, MEC Stringer
The two days voter register inspection exercise which the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) undertook from wesday and Thursday this week ended on a low note as only a few people in Chikwawa have managed to verify their details raising fears of low voter turn out during the June 23rd Fresh Presidential Elections.
A snap survey conducted in some centers around Chikwawa District Council which forms Chikwawa North and Central Constituencies indicated that not more than 100 registrants out of over 1500 registered voters per center had verified their details on Thursday which was the final day for the exercise.
Upon visiting Chikwawa Primary School ,Chikwawa Prison and Chikwawa Secondary School poling centres in Chikwawa north constituency,no registrant were found on thursday afternoon with the registration staff at the centers confirming of the low patronage.
At Dyeratu primary school poling center which is in Chikwawa central constituency about 134 registrants out of 3194 total registrants had verified their details before closure of the exercise according to Felista Chimwaza,the registration supervisor for the center.
The registration supervisor for Chikwawa Secondary School Polling Center, Enerst Kapsyabwino however said despite few people verifying their details, most of the people who registered in the previous election are likely to vote as most of their details are intact.
Speaking during a random interviews, a group of people found in village headman Chelapitisa in Tradition Authority (T/A) Kasisi where Chikwawa primary School poling centre is situated said they were not aware of the voters verification exercise.
On his part Group Village headman (GVH) Mbendelana who is under Traditional Authority (TA) Kasisi also blamed the Malawi Electoral Commission for not involving chiefs in the voters mobilisation exercise hence the low patronage.
National Initiative for Civic Education (NICE) District Education Officer for Chikwawa,Josephy Chamambala whose organization has been carrying out awareness campaign for the fresh election has however parried away fears of voter aparthy in the district saying most people have been made aware of the upcoming polls and that others already verified their details during the first phase of voters registration exercise before its cancellation.
Chikwawa was in the first phase of voters' registration exercise amongst other districts of Blantyre, Nsanje,Ntcheu , Dedza,Salima, and Karonga which was prematurely suspended due to an impending corona virus pandemic lock down scare
Meanwhile the Electoral body has extended the voter register verification exercise using mobile phone till the voting day as the facility was none operation during the two days of manual exercise due to technical hitches.