Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) chairperson Jane Ansahon Friday said her organisation will holistically analyse the trends in the voter registration exercise and decide whether to reopen registration in some districts that have not met the projected threshold.
Ansah was speaking at the National Election Consultative Forum (Necof) in Blantyre after it was discovered that Blantyre has registered one of the lowest voters.
Malawi Congress Party (MCP) has been fighting for the reopening of some centres, especially in the Central Region, that saw lower than the projected number of registered voters.
Blantyre has registered about 73 percent of the projected figures, which is the lowest to register so far in all the four phases that MEC has conducted. Kasungu is second lowest, at 74 percent. The low numbers of registered voters for Kasungu was blamed on lack of civic education, which cannot be the case for Blantyre.
Ansah said at the moment Blantyre, Kasungu and Ntcheu districts have failed to reach the 81 percent average for the four phases. She said in the fourth phase, Chikwawa was the only district that has beaten the 2014 registration figures with 106 percent after registering 258 968 voters against 244 862 for 2014.
“If we will have to reopen registration, we will make that decision after we finish registration in all the phases,” she said.
MEC has completed four phases so far and about over 3.7 million people have registered as voters, representing 81 percent of the projected figure of 4.6 million. Chikwawa, which has registered 244 862, is the highest representing 94 percent of the projected figure.
“The Commission has looked at the statistics and they are starting to show a general trend of a uniform pattern for the outcome. Blantyre has lowest percent of 73 registered voters against the 2018 projection followed by Kasungu which registered 74 percent. We also have Ntcheu district at 78 percent against the 2018 projections.
“Chikwawa has the highest at 94 percent and it is the only district that has surpassed 2014 figures.
The other highlight of the meeting was when stakeholders called upon MEC and Centre for Multiparty Democracy (CMD) to put in place penalties to individuals or political parties that promote hate speeches, insults and violence.
Members expressed concern that there is an increase in violence and use of foul language ahead of the 2019 elections raising fears that the elections would be characterised by the violence.
Chairperson for Women’s Caucus in Parliament Jessie Kabwila asked MEC to put in place measures to ensure that insults and violence come to an end saying they were discouraging women from participating in politics. na