Mzuzu voter registration falls below expectation

Written by  Patricia Mtungira - MEC Stringer

Mzuzu City has recorded a low number of registered voters against the projected statistics for the City in comparison with Zomba and Lilongwe despite many residents rushing to register close to the end of the registration period.

People register during the voter registration exercise People register during the voter registration exercise

According to official voter registration statistics for phase eight that MEC released on Tuesday, only 88, 669 of Mzuzu City residents registered in the just ended voter registration exercise representing 71.4 % of the 2018 projections for the City.

However, in Mzimba District as a whole, where Mzuzu City is located, voter registration is relatively higher at 78% with voters registered in the District totaling 478, 433.

This, comparing with statistics from the start of the voter registration exercise, means that Blantyre remains the district with the lowest number of registered voters in the country in the 2018 voter registration exercise.

MEC’s statistics from previous phases indicate that Blantyre registered 498, 999 against the district’s 2018 projections representing 73% while Zomba registered 78% of its eligible voters who numbered 319, 294 and Lilongwe district maintains the status as the district with the highest percentage of registered voters having registered 1,013, 414 representing 81 % .

Reacting to the results of the voter registration, Church of Central Africa Presbytery (CCAP) Livingstonia Synod through the Church and Society Programme has attributed the below-par voter registration performance of Mzuzu City to poor performance of political leaders and lack of quality political candidates in the 2019 tripartite election’s race.

Executive Director of Church and Society Moses Mkandawire said this in an interview in Mzuzu on Wednesday.

“It is quite true that in Mzuzu, not many people have registered as expected. The question of the kind or caliber of candidates that we have could be the issue as to why Mzuzu residents are thinking twice about registering and voting,” said Mkandawire.

Mkandawire has also alluded the low voter registration in Mzuzu City to a loss of trust in political leadership. The Church and Society leader has since called on civil society and other electoral stakeholders to learn from this experience on how to work and improve on participation in the voter registration in future.

And social commentator, George Allan Phiri who lectures in the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Livingstonia, has also attributed the low voter percentage that registered in Mzuzu to a loss of trust in the country’s political leaders.

“Mzimba is one of the biggest districts in the country; however, the number is not very encouraging. Regarding the voter registration education, Mzuzu should be well conversant with the requirements for the voter registration for the elections which are coming. It shows that people have lost trust in politics in the country,” said Phiri.

The non-state actors underscore recent findings of a study conducted by the Institute of Public Opinion and Research for the Centre for Multi-Party Democracy in August which suggests that Malawians have little trust in political leaders.

However, in an interview, MEC Spokesperson Sangwani Mwafulirwa said that the Malawi Electoral Commission - MEC would soon meet to discuss the way forward on the official results of the 2018 voter registration.

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