Mzuzu voter registration falls below expectations

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Mzuzu City has recorded a low number of registered voters against the projected statistics for the city in comparison with Zomba and Lilongwe.

This is despite an eleventh hour rush by residents of the city to register.

According to   official voter registration statistics for phase eight that Malawi Electoral Commission  (MEC) released on Tuesday, only 88, 669 of Mzuzu City residents registered in the just ended voter registration exercise representing 71.4 % of the 2018 projections for the City.

A woman registering to vote at Mzuzu RTC Centre

However, in Mzimba  district as a whole, where Mzuzu City is located,  voter registration is relatively higher  at  78%  with voters registered in the district totalling 478, 433.

Comparing with statistics from the start of the voter registration   exercise, Blantyre remains the district with the lowest number of registered voters in the 2018 voter registration exercise.

MEC’s statistics from previous phases indicate that Blantyre registered 498, 999 representing 73% of the district’s 2018 projection while Zomba registered 78% of its eligible voters who numbered 319, 294.

Lilongwe district maintains the status as the district with the highest percentage of registered voters having registered 1,013, 414 representing 81 %.

Reacting to the results of the voter registration, Church of Central Africa Presbytery (CCAP) Livingstonia Synod through the Church and Society Programme has attributed the below-par voter registration performance of Mzuzu City to poor performance of political leaders and a lack of quality political candidates in the 2019 Tripartite Election race.

Executive Director of Church and Society Moses Mkandawire said this in an interview in Mzuzu on Wednesday.

“It is quite true that in Mzuzu not many people have registered, according to the expectations.  The question of the kind or calibre of candidates that we have could be the issues that Mzuzu residents are thinking about,” said Mkandawire.

Mkandawire also alluded the low voter registration in Mzuzu City to a loss of trust in political leadership.   The Church and Society leader has since called on civil society and other electoral stakeholders to learn from this experience to work to improve on participation in the voter registration in future.

Social commentator, George Allan Phiri who lectures in the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Livingstonia George Allan Phiri also attributed the low voter registration in Mzuzu to a loss of trust in the country’s political leaders.

“Mzimba is the biggest district in the country, however, the number is not very encouraging. Regarding the voter registration education, Mzuzu should be well conversant with the requirements for the voter registration for the elections which are coming. It shows that people have lost trust in the politics in the country,” said Phiri.

George Phiri

Phiri : people have lost trust

The non-state actors underscored recent findings of a study conducted by the Institute of public Opinion and Research for the Centre for Multi-Party Democracy in August which suggests that Malawians have little trust in political leaders.

However, in an interview, MEC Spokesperson Sangwani Mwafulirwa said MEC would soon meet to discuss the way forward on the official results of the 2018 voter registration.

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