The Diaspora wing of the opposition Malawi Congress Party has made a call to Malawi Electoral Commission, Political Parties, Civil Society organisations and all Stakeholders concerned for increased awareness of the voter registration process that is currently underway in certain parts of the country. The call has been made after great concerns that there has been a low turnout of people coming to register.
In a press statement made available to 247 Media, the communications director of the Wing Chalo Mvula said “We have established that so far, there has been low turnout in the number of people coming to register especially in the central region. This is very worrying as it would mean people will not be able to exercise their right to vote in the forthcoming general elections”.
Malawi electoral commission started the voter registration exercise on the 29th of June with the first phase that covers the districts of Dedza Mchinji, Salima and Kasungu , areas that are deemed as MCP strongholds.
Long distances to places of registration could be a contributing factor, but according to Mvula, it has come to the attention that the concern of most people in the central region is that they don’t see any need to register and vote, as they have lost trust in the voting process and feels the votes are rigged.
“We feel this highlight the lack of proper awareness campaigns by Electoral Commission as it suggests failure to assure people of the need to register and vote and what this would mean to democracy and the future of our country Malawi. It is also concerning, as the results of the next general elections would not be a true representative of what Malawians from all over the country need” read part of the statement.
The Malawi Congress Party Diaspora Wing is urging political parties to get involved and call for their supporters to go and register. As winning any elections is all about the numbers it means if the political party supporters do not register, it decreases their chances of getting votes. There is also a call for the civil society organisations to be given /helped with resources to go in the rural areas and civic educate the people on why registering to vote matters so much.
They are fears among certain quarters that strategic tactics could be used in order to influence the outcome of the general election next year. Apart from the MCP diaspora Wing, another MCP legislator, MP for Dedza East Juliana Lunguzi also tweeted about concerns that there have been reports of fuel shortages at registration centres and solar panels not working.
Chalo Mvula Called on the Malawi Electoral Commission to take note of these concerns and be at the forefront of addressing them. “The Commission will be at risk of being greatly criticized if many people from the regions that are deemed opposition party strongholds do not register, while those deemed the ruling party strongholds registers in great numbers”.