The third phase of voter verification exercise ended yesterday with the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) saying it registered no serious challenges during the exercise.
The phase, which started on December 26 2018, covered all registration centres in eight districts of Mangochi, Balaka, Machinga, Zomba, Chiradzulu, Phalombe, Mulanje and Thyolo as well as Luchenza Municipality.
Speaking after inspecting progress of the exercise in Chiradzulu and Mulanje on Saturday, MEC chairperson Jane Ansah said unlike in the second phase which faced transportation hitches, the third phase was properly handled with district councils actively involved in ensuring that all equipment and staff were deployed in time and that all works were conducted efficiently and effectively.
“There has been no case of mismatch of names, pictures and other related information in all the nine centres we visited and I am impressed. The number of people coming to verify their names is increasing day by day and this is encouraging. We are also aware that a lot of people are verifying using their mobile phones and data on that is being recorded,” she said.
Ansah, who is a judge of the Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal, said the outcome of the verification exercise signifies that results of the voter registration exercise conducted from June 26 to November 9 this year were flawless.
She has since encouraged stakeholders in the voting process, including political parties, to sensitise registered voters to the need to verify their details in the voters’ roll, adding that there will be no extension to the exercise.
She highlighted that participating in the verification exercise will help speed up the voting process on the polling day and also allow those who want to transfer to do so and vote close to their locations next year.
Before end of business on Saturday, the nine centres that Ansah visited had physically verified an average of 300 registered voters each against about 2 000 to 4 000 eligible voters in each centre.
Phase four, which is also the final one, of voters register inspection and verification exercise will run from January 5 to 9 2019 and will cover Chitipa, Karonga, Rumphi Nkhata Bay, Likoma, Mzuzu City and Mzimba in the Northern Region.
In the course of the exercise, MEC has also partnered with the National Registration Bureau (NRB) to distribute national identity cards (IDs) for those that registered when they were registering during the voter registration exercise.
At the close of the second phase, MEC complained of a serious challenge of shortage of vehicles that affected their operations. For example, in Neno, a tractor was used to ferry staff to hard-to-reach areas.
However, MEC director of media and public relations Sangwani Mwafulirwa said the electoral body engaged government to ensure that the third phase did not face similar hitches.
MEC started conducting the voter verification and inspection exercise on December 10 2018 in selected districts of the Central Region.