The Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) has called on Malawians to register to vote saying Malawians cannot afford to fail the nation by failing to register to vote.
HRDC National Chairperson Timothy Mtambo was speaking at a press conference in Mzuzu on Tuesday where has called on Malawians to go and register in their large numbers in the ongoing voter registration exercise.
“Malawians should go and register in their large numbers. In a democracy the people delegate their powers to govern through voting. If they do not register they cannot vote, it means they have failed the nation. Currently we have a thousand reasons to vote. We have a Government that has failed,” said Mtambo.
In the meantime, the HRDC has announced that is has shifted the peaceful nationwide demonstrations on corruption and other governance lapses in the Government to 21st September 2018 from the 7th September in order to pave way for the ruling Democratic Progressive Party to hold the Blue day event in Blantyre on the 7th of September.
And leader of civil society organisation, Christian Justice International Malawi based in Mzuzu, Prophet Amos Chuma has also called on Malawians Countrywide not to lose their power to vote by failing to register in the voter registration exercise .
” It is very important for Malawians to vote so that they can be able to vote come 2019. Whether they have somebody in mind that they want to vote for or they want to remove somebody, their power is attached to the voter registration,” said Chuma.
Chuma has, however, expressed concern that the demonstrations that HRDC is organizing could disturb the voter registration activities across the Country.
“We feel that the demonstrations are not a welcome idea because we feel that in some parts the may be disturbed by the demonstrations which were scheduled for 7th and have now been moved to 21st September,” said Chuma who is also a lead member in the Malawi Civil Society Led Black Economic Empowerment Movement ( MaBLEM).
But HRDC’s Chairperson in Northern Region Happy Mhango dismissed the concerns.
” The peaceful demonstrations will not affect the voter registration exercise. In fact one of our messages on the day of the demonstrations will be to highlight the importance of voter registration, ” said Mhango.
HRDC has further labelled Prophet Chuma and MaBLEM to which Chuma belongs as a team that is being ‘used by political leaders to promote impunity’ while disguising itself as a civil society organisation.
And the Country’s electoral Body has already appealed to political leaders to be tolerant with opposing views from pressure groups. In a recent statement, the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) Chairperson Justice Dr Jane Ansah SC appealed to all electoral stakeholders to avoid perpetrating violence during the electoral period. MEC says that the intolerance to opposing views can breed violence which can deter people from going for voter registration.
Meanwhile phase five of voter registration is currently underway in Balaka, Neno, Thyolo, Luchenza Municipal, Phalombe and Mulanje.