Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) has registered 4.6 million voters over five phases covering 17 of the country’s 28 districts.
Giving an update after the close of phase five that covered Balaka, Neno, Thyolo, Phalombe and Mulanje districts and Luchenza Municipality in Thyolo during a media briefing in Lilongwe yesterday, MEC chairperson Jane Ansah said the 4.6 million voters represent 81 percent of the total projected figures for the five phases.
She said: “For these five phases, the commission has registered a total of 4 655 941 voters. This is 81 percent of the projected 5 770 982 million voters for these five phases.”
Ansah, who is a judge of the Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal, said out of the figure, 2.5 million or 54 out of every 100 are women with men adding up to 2.1 million.
Further, the statistics also reveal that the number of registered youths aged less than 35 years hit 2.6 million, representing 55 percent of the total number of voters registered.
Statistically, the figures reveal that youths have taken a lead in the ongoing exercise with young females commanding the total number of 1.4 million while males hit 1.1 million.
While stating that there were no challenges during phase five, Ansah said the commission is still resolving registration hitches for six centres in Thyolo District, the home district of incumbent President Peter Mutharika, where codes assigned to the centres could not be put directly into the database from the field.
The affected centres are Methiwa, Namiyanga, Ntawa, Mpeni, Milole and Sukamayere schools.
The cumulative figures for the five phases are slightly more than half of the projected nine million voters expected to register before the exercise winds up on November 9 this year.
MEC opened the voter registration exercise on June 26 2018. There are three phases remaining to be conducted, including in Mangochi, Zomba, Nsanje and Northern Region districts.
Ansah said phase five registration was free from hiccups compared to the first phase although she earlier pointed out challenges at the six centres.
Efforts to talk to independent commentators on the development did not yield results as a number of them reported that they were attending a funeral.
Malawi Electoral Support Network (Mesn) Steve Duwa also could not be drawn to comment as he said he was in meeting.
During the first phase of the registration exercise, there were also challenges that led to low turnout of registrants, but MEC is on record as having said it will determine whether it is necessary to extend the period for the benefit of those who did not register.
Opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) and other stakeholders pressed for the re-opening of some of the centres in Kasungu, Dedza and Salima districts.