Speaking during one of the trainings at Senior Chief Malemia’s headquarterss on Friday, MEC District Elections Clerk for Zomba City Naomi M’manga stressed the need for the traditional leaders to understand the electoral process to effectively enlighten their subjects on the same.
The Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) and National Initiative for Civic Education (Nice) Trust have embarked on joint orientation trainings for traditional leaders in Zomba to build their capacity as the ongoing biometric voter registration (BVR) approaches in the district.
Zomba district falls under phase 6 of the registration scheduled to roll out on September 19 to October 2. The phase also covers Mangochi and Nsanje districts.
“It is impossible for MEC and Nice Trust to be available in your respective villages all the time. However, we will rely on you to respond to election-related queries that your subjects may have,” she said.
M’manga further urged chiefs in the district to encourage all eligible voters under their jurisdictions to go and register when registration starts in Zomba.
Nice Trust’s Assistant Civic Education Officer for Zomba, Chifundo Sangaya also concurred with M’manga on the need for combined efforts to encourage citizens to register.
Sangaya said: “Some people choose not to vote because they are frustrated with their political leaders. We all need to make them understand that voting is the only weapon they have to maintain or remove those in power. If they do not vote, this will only help the leaders they are not happy with to remain in power or, in some cases, help those you do not want to win.”
Among others, the chiefs were grilled on voter verification, eligibility of candidates and voters as well as BVR, which is being used for the first time in the country ahead of the 2019 Tripartite Elections.
Speaking on behalf of the fifteen Group-Village-Headmen who attended the training, Senior Chief Malemia commended MEC and Nice Trust for the trainings which he emphasized as crucial in the electoral process.
Similar trainings were also held in the areas of Senior Chiefs Chikowi and Mlumbe and Traditional Authority (T/A) M’bisa in the district.