With only two days left to wind up voter verification exercise, the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) says it will have the best voters register the country has ever had.
MEC chief elections officer Sam Alfandika said in an interview yesterday the exercise, which started on December 13 2018 and ends this Wednesday, has been a success with no registrant complaining of missing names or photos in the data during verification.
He was responding to The Nation query on the success of the exercise as it nears completion.
The exercise began on a low note in the Central Region, but MEC officials said earlier that the number of people who later turned up for verification in other phases rose steadily.
Said Alfandika: “The most important thing to us as MEC is that we managed to distribute 100 percent of voter registration cards. If 100 percent of voters did not turn up, that is still fine with us since nobody has complained that their name or photo is missing from the register.
“If 100 percent of people did not turn up that also tells us that they are not panicking. In the previous elections, people could not find their names in the voters’ register. This time there is no any single name missing. It does not matter how many people have gone to verify but what matters is the outcome which is 100 percent accurate.”
Earlier, MEC chairperson Jane Ansah, who is also a Supreme Court of Appeal judge, bemoaned the low turnout for voter verification, but said it was partly due to the online facility that the commission introduced to enable people verify their data on their mobile phones.
Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) national coordinator Boniface Chibwana, whose organisation has been monitoring the verification exercise on a low scale, said in a separate interview the organisation was confident that MEC will produce an error-free voters register.
He said the use of Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) equipment, which will be used in the May 21 Tripartite Elections to elect the next State President, members of Parliament and councillors, is known for reducing errors.
He said: “You may note that the verification exercise started after rains. This is the time when many people are busy in their gardens, and to them verification may not be a priority as they feel that the registration exercise they went through was enough.
“But MEC is justified to say that we will have the best register because the use of Biometric voter Registration equipment has helped in reducing errors.”
CCJP says it executed its voter verification monitoring exercise in districts such as Mangochi, Balaka, Chikwawa and Kasungu.
The final phase of the voter verification exercise is being conducted in all Northern Region districts of Chitipa, Karonga, Rumphi, Nkhata Bay, Likoma, Mzuzu City and Mzimba.
About 6.59 million voters are expected to vote this year, with over half of the eligible voters being youths and women.
After the verification exercise, MEC will produce a final register which will be one of the official documents for the polls.