MEC casts doubt on voters re-registration; Lilongwe surpasses all districts

LILONGWE-(MaraviPost)-Lilongwe so far remains the district which has registered more people for 2019 tripartite elections.

It has surpassed its counterpart Blantyre with almost twice that has 498,999 voters registered in the six phase of Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) registration exercise.

Addressing the news conference in the capital Lilongwe on Friday at the end of Phase six of the registration, MEC Chairperson Justice Dr Jane Ansah SC said the commission is unlikely to re-register voters.

The Chairperson was giving an update on the phase six of voter registration and released the preliminary registration figures.
“Please exercise caution when using the statistics because there will be variations with the final statistics when duplication are removed and transfers are effected,” advises Dr Ansah.
Below is the fully MEC Chairperson statement;

I take great pleasure to welcome you to the press conference we have organised today to give an update regarding the progress of the voter registration for 2019 Tripartite Elections. MEC recognises the
importance of the media in relaying the crucial information to the public. That is why we have made it a point to meet with the press as often as we can. The press conference also offers a platform for MEC
to address, clarify issues or clear misunderstandings surrounding the preparation for Tripartite Elections.

As a matter of background, the Malawi Electoral Commission started voter registration on June 26, 2018 and will run up to November 9, 2018. The exercise is being conducted in eight phases which are
having a break for transition. So far the Commission has done 6 phases. We are now going into phase seven which commences on Monday, October 8, 2018 and runs up to October 21, 2018. This
phase will cover the following councils: Chitipa, Karonga, Rumphi, Machinga and Chiradzulu.

All the preparations for this phase have been finalised.  The staff have been trained and materials deployed. The Commission has already been to the areas to conduct public mobilisation.

Phase six covered the following councils: Mangochi District, Mangochi Town, Zomba District, Zomba City and Nsanje District.

For this phase the Commission has registered 866,985 voters against a projection of 1,064,376 in all the councils representing 81 percent. A total of 521,381 voters are women while 345,603 voters are men.
The total registered voters for this phase is also 92 percent against the 2014 registered voters which were 944,586.

Registration statistics for phase 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 For these six phases, the Commission has registered a total of 5,522,926 voters against a projection of 6,835,358. This translates into 81percent. Of the total registered voters, 3,055,813 are women representing 55 percent and 2,466,605 are men representing 45
percent. The total for six phases is also 91 percent of those that registered in 2014 which were 6,038,527 voters. Of all the total registered voters for the six phases, the number of youths, aged less than 35 years, registered is 3,134,651 representing 57 percent. Of the total sum for registered youths, 1,711,945 females
representing 55 percent and 1,422,706 are males translating into 45 percent.

From the totals we have so far, Nsanje is the only district that has
recorded above the 2018 projection. The district has registered
145,528 voters which is 104 percent of the 2018 projection and 115
percent against the 2014 total registered voters for the district.
Second on the ladder is Chikhwawa which registered 94 percent of
the 2018 projection and 106 percent against 2014 figures.
These are preliminary statistics and there will be variations with the
final figures after removing duplicates and effecting transfers.
Therefore, we urge stakeholders to exercise caution when using the
figures and always check with the Commission.

Challenges of violence during phase 6

Stoning of MEC Community Cinema and Dialogue vehicle and
loudhailer vehicle:
On 20th September 2018, a vehicle that was engaged to
conduct community cinema and dialogue was attacked by
unknown criminals who smashed its rear windscreen with a half
brick. This incident happened at Bala 2 Village in Sub
Traditional Authority Nkaputa in Zomba Chingale Constituency.
No one was injured in the attack, except for the damage to
the vehicle
On 21st September, 2018 a loudhailer van that was mobilising
people around Zomba Lisanjala Constituency was also stoned
but there was no damage to the vehicle.
All these incidents were reported to the Police who provided
an escort to these civic and voter education teams up to the
end of the voter registration exercise in Zomba.
MEC wishes to express its utter disappointment over this
conduct. It has the potential of imparting fear among the voter
education staff who at times have to work at odd hours just to
ensure that they catch on people whom they could not reach
out during the day. We therefore call upon the community and
their leaders to join the Commission in condemning these
barbaric acts.

Accident involving road show promoters: One of the road show
promoters, Dzukani Direct Marketing which was led by Mr
Andrew Kachale was engaged to sensitise the public in
Mangochi. On Saturday, 29th September, 2018 the Activation
Truck that they were using was involved in a road accident as
they were coming from Makanjira to Mangochi boma. Upon
reaching Malindi trading centre the driver was trying to avoid a
cyclist and the truck lost control and swayed into drainage line.
As a result of this, three people who were in the Activation Truck
fell down and got injured. Two sustained minor injuries and the
other one who was operating the music equipment sustained a
deep cut on his head and scratches on his right arm. They
were all treated as outpatients at Mangochi District Hospital on
the same day.
 Shortage of transport: The Commission continues to face
transport challenges. For phase six MEC has hired 36 buses at a
cost of K74 million for transition of registration staff to phase 7
councils.
Positive impact of mosquito net distribution
The Commission has noted that the free mosquito net distribution in
Zomba on September 25, 2018 had a positive impact on voter
registration. The number of people registering almost doubled
because people were required to have a national ID in order to
receive a mosquito net. This forced many to register with the NRB
and also the MEC as voters. This is enlightening the debate on why
some people choose not to register and that some were registering
in the past because they wanted to get the voter certificate to
benefit from social services like free farm inputs.
Collection of national IDs by registrants from DC offices
As we continue with the voter registration exercise, I wish to send a
reminder to all the people in the North about collection of national
IDs. All those who registered with the National Registration Bureau
(NRB) should know that their IDs are out and they should go and
collect them from the District Commissioners’ offices. Suffice to say
that even without the national ID, as long as you are registered with
the NRB, you will be assisted to register. However, using the national
ID makes the registration process simple, fast and straight forward.
However, in the absence of the national ID or the proof of
registration with NRB the registration staff will need to search for your
details in the computer either using your finger print or your name
details. This can take more than a minute. That is why the
Commission is encouraging everyone to collect their national ID if
they registered.

Recording of national ID numbers

Complaints have been raised in several meetings organised by the
Commission regarding recording of national ID numbers by unknown
people for various purposes. These exercises have created fear
amongst some people that the information can be used to produce
fake voter certificates that can be used to vote in place of the
rightful holders. I wish to assure the Malawi nation that this is
impossible. It is not possible to create a voter certificate and vote on
behalf of another person. All people should know that in the voters’
register there will be faces of the ID holders which were taken during
national registration. During polling, monitors will have a copy of their
own voters’ register and will be checking if the person voting is the
one in the register, corresponding to the photograph in the register.
People should also know that the voters’ register will not use the
national ID numbers, therefore, they are inconsequential beyond
registration.
The Commission appreciates that the national ID is being used for
various purposes. The Commission cannot stop that but we urge for
orderliness amongst those that wish to conduct activities linked to
the national ID, especially during the election period to avoid raising
unnecessary suspicions.
Launch in the Northern Region
In phase 7, voter registration is moving to the northern region for the
first time. So the Commission has planned for launch meetings to
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explain to all stakeholders on how it has planned for the voter
registration exercise and roles are expected from them. Therefore,
the Commission is inviting all political parties, aspiring candidates,
civil society members, faith leaders, traditional leaders to the launch
meetings which will be held at council chambers from 8AM in
Chitipa, Rumphi and Karonga councils on Sunday, 7 October, 2018.
A call for responsible reporting
The Commission is appealing to the Media and all electoral
stakeholders to desist from negative reporting of the voter
registration process. Any negative reporting on this very important
exercise will have a negative impact on the turn-out of eligible
voters to register. We should therefore work together to encourage
all eligible voters to come out in their large numbers and register to
ensure the success of the entire electoral process.
With these few remarks allow me to bring my report to an end
May God bless our country and may He bless everyone of us
END

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