Final preparations for today’s tripartite elections went on smoothly yesterday after voting materials were delivered to almost all polling stations nationwide.
In addition, most party observers and independent election monitors reported to their duty stations in all but two of the country’s 28 districts, The Nation snap survey has revealed.
The snap survey we conducted in selected districts nationwide through Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) stringers and The Nation reporters also revealed that there were no incidents of violence, intimidation or illegal campaigning after the expiry of the official campaign period on Sunday morning.
For instance in the Northern Region, voting materials, party monitors and election observers were in place in all the polling centres in Mzuzu, Nkhata Bay, Likoma and Rumphi at least by 9am yesterday.
According to Likoma district commissioner (DC) Eric Nema, the island received election materials on Saturday in the presence of all stakeholders.
“So far, the operation has been smooth, without many challenges,” he said.
Likoma has five polling centres while Chizumulu Island has three.
In an interview, MEC stringer Kenneth Chizo said Likoma Island has registered a change in the number of registered voters from 6 973 to 7 023 due to inward transfers, mostly involving electoral services workers.
In Mzuzu, everything was set in most centres The Nation visited yesterday morning.
However, election officials in Chitipa failed to deliver personnel and voting materials to eight polling stations; Ipyana, Sofwe and Mughona in Chitipa East; Ipulukutu and Chibale in Chitipa Central; and Chilambo, Mphande and Bale in Chitipa Wenya as at press time yesterday (6pm).
MEC stringer Madalitso Phiri reported that Chitipa district elections officer Gabriel Zambasa said during a District Elections Supervisory Team (Dest) meeting on Saturday, his office could not deliver the materials to the polling stations on time because some of the roads to the areas in question were in poor condition.
However, he said there were arrangements to secure a helicopter to deliver the materials to the polling centres by yesterday. By press time, we had not yet confirmed delivery.
In Karonga Central Constituency, it was discovered yesterday that names of monitors for Alliance for Democracy (Aford) and United Democratic Front (UDF) in all the 25 centres were missing.
UDF running mate Frank Mwenifumbo, who is also a member of Aford, said they have since been asked to resubmit the names.
But Karonga district elections officer Steve Ndau advised that the monitors should simply go to the various polling stations and work today.
In the Central Region, our survey established no hitches in the delivery of materials and availability of electoral stakeholders such as party monitors in Lilongwe, Ntchisi and Dowa.
Electoral officials in Nsanje District in the Southern Region also confirmed that all is set for the polls as materials had been sent to almost all polling centres in the district by the time we went to press.
“We are very prepared and all is set to let polling to start on 21 May. I have had a couple of visits [to polling centres] and, so far, the state of preparedness by the polling staff and other personnel shows that we are ready,” said Nsanje DC Michael Chimbalanga.
Commenting on the impact of floods, he said only one camp for flood victims needs a satellite polling centre while another satellite centre has been created at Nsanje Prison.
In Blantyre and Thyolo districts, there were no irregularities reported at polling stations save for minor delays in the delivery of polling materials experienced on Sunday.
In Thyolo South, constituency returning officer Mary Bango said there were no incidences reported by 4pm.
She said European Union (EU) election observers also visited the centre and were satisfied with preparations.