The Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Malawi Chapter has commended journalists in the country for contributing positively towards wooing the masses to participate in the ongoing voter registration exercise.
MISA Malawi Chairperson Tereza Ndanga made the remarks as the blame-game continues between opposition political parties and the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) on the exercise which has been marred by a low turnout.
Speaking in an interview, Ndanga said so far the media has done its part in sensitizing the masses to participate enmasse in the exercise currently in its second phase.
“The role to sensitize the masses to go and register does not squarely lie to the Malawi media alone but coordinated efforts from all stakeholders in the electoral process, while we feel had done our part not so much has been done on the ground in as far as sensitizing the masses on voter registration,” said Ndanga.
She added that: ”We are equally worried with the turnout of people registering and again the numbers of those who have registered during the first phase of voter registration despite all the messages and coverage by the media in the country in readiness for exercise”.
Ndanga observed that stakeholders in the electoral process have failed to reach out to the rural masses to sensitize them on the need to take part in the registration exercise which according to the country’s chief pollster MEC is targeting over 9 million voters.
“Understanding of electoral issues is quite different depending on the level of education and other factors, if people are not sensitized enough on voter registration it will be difficult for them to avail themselves at registration centres especially now that we are using biometric voter registration system for the first time in the country’s history,” warned Ndanga.
The second phase of voter registration in readiness for the May 2019 tripartite elections is currently underway in the central region districts of Mchinji, Dowa, Nkhotakota and Ntchisi.
- Entry by George Banda-MEC Stringer