Uncertainty over polling day will affect voter turnout – NICE Trust


National Initiative for Civic Education (NICE) Trust in Balaka has expressed worry over the lack of a specific date for the 2020 Fresh Presidential Election (FPE), saying it will affect voter turnout.

Balaka NICE Trust Civic Education Officer Henry Zekaria said this in an interview on Tuesday on how his office is doing in preparation for the forthcoming elections.

He bemoaned lack of information on the specific date that has been set aside for voting, saying this is making their messages incomplete since they cannot answer questions that arise as they sensitize the masses.

“The changing of the dates is confusing the electorate, we are not preparing the voter’s mind and this may have negative effects in terms of voter turnout on the election day,” said the Civic Education Officer.

The 2020 elections were initially scheduled for July 2 but MEC later set June 23 as polling day. Following the Supreme Court ruling last month, MEC said Parliament should set a date for the polls.

During the interview, Zekaria called for players in voter education to intensify dissemination of messages in order to boost turn out.

“Apart from Malawi Electoral Commission that helped reaching out to electorates with voter messages during the register updates, we are the only organization that is running up and down doing sensitization in the district,” said Zekaria.

He asked organizations that are free to do voter education in Balaka to beef up the existing ones so that the messages reach every corner of the district.

Zekaria has since urged the citizenry to use the media as reliable source of information and that they should turn out to verify their names in the voter register during forthcoming verification exercise.

According to MEC, verification exercise will run from 10 to 11th June, 2020.