The Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) says it has devised ways of reaching out to potential voters amidst Covid-19 restrictions to beat voter apathy in the forthcoming by-elections.
MEC chairperson Justice Chifundo Kachale was speaking in Balaka on Tuesday when he inspected registration exercise for the October 26 2021 by-elections.
MEC will conduct by-elections in Nkhotakota North East Constituency formerly held by late Martha Chanjo Lunji of the Democratic Progressive Party, Dedza Central East Constituency formerly held by late Mcsteyn Swithin Mkomba of the Malawi Congress Party, Mzimba East Constituency which fell vacant due to death of Independent MP, Wezie Gondwe and Chimwalire Ward in Balaka South Constituency formerly held by late Councilor Joseph Daniel of the DPP.
Kachale said previously they would organise crowd-pulling activities such as football matches to raise awareness but with the pandemic they are limited.
He said, however, they will continue to engage with traditional and religious leaders, deploy more loud hailers in communities and are encouraging teachers to always send a reminder to the community through the students.
Commenting on the registration exercise, Kachale bemoaned low turnout.
He said: “In most of the centres we visited, the turnout was still very low. But we are still in the early days and I think there is time enough to make some difference.”
The fourteen-day registration exercise started on Monday this week.
MEC has also a long term strategy to Civic Educate the masses on the importance of ward councillors as records have shown that a lot of people are not interested to take part in a local government election.
Chiendausiku registration centre supervisor Hackson Chikodzera assured the MEC chairperson that all Covid-19 preventive measures are being adhered to during registration.
Politicians are also urged to observe all Covid-19 preventive measures throughout the election.
The total budget for the October 26 by-election is over K1 billion and government has already provided all the funds.
Kachale at one of the registration centres in Balaka.