The Catholic Commission of Justice and Peace (CCJP) and Malawi Electoral Support Network (Mesn) say there is no reason for Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) to reopen the registration process.
The two civil society organisations (CSOs) it is time to focus on ensuring that registered voters vote in the May 2019 Tripartite Elections.
MEC has since said it will neither re-open nor extend the voter registration exercise.
In a telephone interview on Monday, CCJP national coordinator Boniface Chibwana said MEC is not to blame for the low turnout during the voter registration exercise; hence, there was no need to reopen the registration process as there seemed to be no major discrepancies in terms of numbers.
He said: “Even though the first phases faced a few hiccups, there was a major improvement in subsequent phases. I think going forward, all electoral stakeholders, including civil society organisations and political parties should invest their efforts in ensuring that almost all registered voters cast their votes.”
Responding to a questionnaire, Mesn chairperson Steve Duwa said the absence of mandatory laws on voting should always be taken into account when looking at numbers of registered voters.
He said: “We need to motivate the voters and make them see the need to own the elections by voting. This is not easy considering that political violence and hate speeches seem to be the order of the day.
“Therefore, as electoral stakeholders, we should work extra hard to engage the electorate and also allow inter and intra-party democracy to flourish.”
In the 2014 elections, MEC registered 7.4 million voters of whom 5.2 million cast their votes.
This year, MEC has registered about 6.8 million people against a projected figure of nine million potential voters. n