Balaka district has registered 40 percent of voter apathy in the just ended Fresh Presidential Elections (FPE) thus leaving a larger population of registered voters undecided of their preference.
According to district results sheet for the district, there were 162,229 registered voters where only 97,579 cast their votes (representing 60%) and 64579 did not vote (representing 40%).
Speaking to the press soon after finishing counting the results at the district’s tally centre, the District Commissioner Dr Macloud Kadam’manja described the voting process in the district as a success.
“We have successfully managed to retrieve all the staff and materials from all the polling stations, we have compiled the final list of how the candidates have fared, completed filling all the necessary forms that were supposed to be completed so that the results should be credible,” said Kadam’manja.
“It has been a trend in Malawi that by-elections are not patronized in large numbers, but I cannot tell why people did not turn out to vote this time around,” he said.
He added that the district had a dedicated and hard working team and that is why they had managed to finish the whole process in a shortest time.
Earlier, the Civil Society Organization called for intensified voter education saying the absence of the same would lead to low voter turnout. The voter apathy therefore vindicates what the CSOs said would happen.
National Initiative for Civic Education (NICE) Trust, Public Affairs Committee (PAC) and CCAP Synod of Livingstonia called on political parties to prepare their followers for the presidential election and their outcome.
Reacting to how the DPP/UDF Alliance has fared in the (FPE), campaign manager for the Eastern Region who was once minister of Education in the UDF led administration Yusuf Mwawa, said their alliance has managed amass votes in their stronghold which is an indicator that they have followers.
“Our target was to maximize our potential in the rural areas where we know we have a big following, the urban areas are usually uncertain when it comes to who they vote for,” said Mwawa.
In the final results in the district, Dr Lazarus Chakwera of Tonse Alliance got 18,108, Peter Kuwani of MMD 850, Prof. Arthur Peter Mutharika of DPP/UDF Alliance bagged 76,834 and 1,787 Null and Void out of 97,579 polled votes.