The Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) has said it has registered a total of 2 686 903 eligible voters from the previous three phases, representing an 81 percent of the 3 304 492 projection.
MEC chairperson Jane Ansah said this yesterday when she gave an update on the progress of the voter registration exercise that is currently in phase four which commenced on Thursday.
Addressing the press at the Central Office of Information in Blantyre, Ansah said the total of the three phases is also 93 percent of those that registered in 2014, which were 2 877 409 voters.
According to Ansah, of the total registered voters, 1 424 025 are women, which represents 53 percent while 1 262 371 are men, representing 47 percent.
A total of 1 507 224, representing 56.1 percent of all the new registered voters are youths below the age of 35 and out of the figure, 810 775 are women, which is representing 53.79 percent and 696 449 are men, representing a 46.21 percent.
“The commission has looked at the statistics and they are starting to show a general trend of uniform pattern for outcome. Kasungu so far has the lowest turnout percentage of 74 against 2018 projections while Nkhotakota is the highest with 88 percent,” said Ansah.
However, she urged stakeholders to exercise caution with the preliminary figures, stressing that the figures may either go up or down.
The MEC boss also emphasised that they will continue to mobilise eligible voters to go and register.
In separate interviews on Thursday, electoral stakeholders were upbeat that there will be a rise in numbers of people registering, compared to the other three phases which were characterised by low turnout, mostly in the first phase.
Registration in the fourth phase, which runs from August 16 to 29, is happening in Blantyre, Mwanza, Chikwawa and Ntcheu.
The first phase of the registration exercise had the lowest turnout because of some challenges, but there have been improvements during the second and third phases, respectively.
In a telephone interview yesterday, Malawi Electoral Support Network (Mesn) chairperson Steve Duwa said they are also expecting that some challenges encountered in the previous phases will be minimised, notably late distribution of equipment and inadequate registration staff.
“So far, a lot has improved but on the challenges, we are yet to see when the next phase starts. The turnout has greatly improved, of course, more women were registering than men, which is not surprising because the population of men is less than that of men,” he said.
In a separate interview, CCJP acting national coordinator Boniface Chibwana said there is need for all stakeholders to play their role on sensitising the people.
“We anticipate that numbers will be keeping up. We also expect MEC, Nice and political parties to go into constituencies and mobilise people. There is need for concerted efforts in mobilising people; we cannot live it up to MEC alone,” he said.
On his part, National Initiative for Civic Education (Nice) Trust executive director Ollen Mwalubunju, said they have taken a new approach in mobilising people to turn out in their large numbers, especially in urban areas.
He said: “We have innovative ways on how we will be mobilising people because there is a difference on how people perceive information in rural and urban areas. One of the ways is direct engagement with the people, distributing leaflets, talking to employers to release their employees and intensifying radio jingles.”
The three bodies said they are using resources which they have to reach people on the ground through various methods such as sensitisation meetings, jingles and programmes.