The Electoral Commission (EC) says in its 2012-2017 strategic plan it wants to get to the root of voter apathy in Malawi.
In a questionnaire response, the commissionâ€™s media and public relations manager Sangwani Mwafulirwa said when voter apathy causes are identified, the commission will come up with programmes to address them.
â€œEven though during general elections there is always high voter turnout, we have included voter apathy as one of the main components in our strategic plan of 2012-2017,â€ said Mwafulirwa.
He said no research has been conducted on causes of voter apathy in the country since the inception of multiparty democracy.
â€œAs of now, it will be tough for us to distinctly point out the causes of voter apathy, but judging from research conducted in other countries, some of the factors include inadequate voter and civic education, lack of political will, lack of information on the contesting candidates and their political parties which can help the electorate make choices.
â€œVoter turnout may also be affected in situations where polling centres are far from the people and they have to walk or cycle long distances. This is pronounced among the aged and sick,â€ he said.
Mwafulirwa, however, said the turnout in Mzimba by-elections was an improvement from previous by-elections.
â€œThe percentage turnout for Mzimba Central was 50.44 while for South West was 51.63. This is an improvement as compared to the turnout for by-elections in Rumphi Central in September 2011 where the turnout was 45 percent,â€ said Mwafulirwa.â€”Mana