The ruling Malawi Congress Party (MCP) attempted to register minors ahead of by-elections in Karonga Central Constituency.
On Tuesday, the party took minors to National Registration Bureau (NRB) offices in Karonga where party officials demanded that they should be registered.
Some children are registered as if they are aged 18 or above so that they should be able to vote in an election.
NRB officers in the district refused to register the children and asked the party officials to first get proper documentation from traditional chiefs to prove the children’s eligibility.
“We actually asked them to come tomorrow [Wednesday] so they could be assisted,” said NRB officer Clement Chunga.
This angered the MCP officials who accused NRB of favouring UTM candidate Frank Mwenifumbo and frustrating MCP candidate Leonard Mwalwanda.
MCP district chairperson, Emmanuel Nkhoma, said NRB was allowing Mwenifumbo to register minors.
Said Nkhoma: “We have forced the closure of the NRB office. Why should they register minors from the Mwenifumbo stronghold areas only? It is unacceptable. We have taken the matter to the relevant authorities.”
Commentators have since urged Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) to use the 2019 election voter register in order to resolve the issue.
MEC will hold by-elections in Karonga Central on November.
MCP and UTM have each fielded a candidate in the area despite the two parties being part of the ruling Tonse Alliance.