A traditional leader in Dedza has warned people who are neglecting the ongoing voter registration exercise that they will pay fines, describing the low turnout as worrisome.
Speaking in an interview, Traditional Authority Chilikumwendo condemned people who are defying the exercise saying as citizens of Malawi they need to take part in issues pertaining to the development of the country.
“As in my case I will make sure that every individual who is at the voting age is participating in this ongoing exercise because this will enable them to vote in the 2019 polls. The country will not develop if people remain like this, everyone has a right to make a decision but this should not affect issues that are to do with development,” said Chilikumwendo.
Traditional Chilikumwendo added that nowadays people are being irresponsible due to several misconceptions about human rights.
“The sensitisations were enough, people are aware of what is happening on the ground but they chose not to register saying they have got rights. The issue is Malawians are used to flocking to donations not activities that will transform their livelihoods,” he added.
He then revealed plans to conduct a door to door inspection after the exercise in Dedza to ensure that those who did not register should go to register at centers in neighboring districts.
Chilikumwendo further said unregistered people will be ordered to pay a fine of a goat as an alarm for them to be responsible in development activities.
Commenting on the development, District Commissioner for Dedza Ellis Tembo said as a council they engaged traditional leaders to assist in boosting morale regarding the exercise.
Tembo said chiefs have got their own tactics in making sure that people are responding positively to developmental issues.
“I am aware that chiefs are assisting in this registration exercise, and those are just measures they use. They are the ones who know how to manage their subjects and I am sure they do not necessarily mean to punish their subjects,” said Tembo.
He however agreed with Chilikumwendo that it is a worrisome development to learn that people are shunning the exercise due to their personal grounds.
The development comes in amid persistent low turnout of people in registration centers in some parts of Dedza district causing fears of low voter turnout come 2019.