Lilongwe: Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) has hinted that it will not re-open registration centres in Blantyre as a result of low voter turnout compared to 2018 projections.
MEC Chairperson, Dr. Jane Ansah clarified this Monday during a media briefing in Lilongwe when she outlined on the progress of current voter registration exercise
She said that it is not that true that during the National Elections Consultative Forum (NECOF) held on August 31, 2018 in Blantyre various stakeholders agreed to reopen the registration centres in Blantyre.
Ansah added that MEC is not aware of the decision to consider re-opening registration centres in Blantyre and that the fabrication never came from the Commission.
The Commission continues to observe the process and will keep stakeholders updated on every decision made regarding progression of voter registration. We encourage all people to refrain from spreading unfounded allegations against the Commission, she pointed out.
The MEC Chair explained that the Commission continues to face challenges in transport since trucks and buses have not been adequately mobilized from ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) through the Elections Transport Taskforce.
For phase five, the 10 Commission hired 24 buses at a cost of K20 million to transport registration staff. Failure to mobilize enough vehicles from MDAs has put the Commission in an awkward situation especially during transition where appropriate vehicles are supposed to be used to ferry Registration staff to next council in the next phase, Ansah observed.
The MEC Chairperson said despite the transport challenges, the voter registration progressed well in phase five with no significant hitches.
Let me emphasize that the period for registration is a minimum of two weeks under the law. In reality the process can take less than five days. The system adopted by the Commission is fast and efficient. Those that have gone for voter registration have attested that for some it even took just a minute, she explained.
She pointed out that if all people showed up within the first four days, we have the capacity to register all of them.
The Commission expressed gratitude to Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning for timely flow of funding to the exercise.
Since we started the voter registration exercise, the Commission has been funded timely and adequately.
The phase six of the registration exercise will start on Wednesday, September 19, 2018 up to October 2, 2018.
It will cover the following districts, Mangochi district, Mangochi Town, Zomba District, Zomba City and Nsanje district.
Source: Malawi News Agency MANA