The Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) has engaged over 300 Traditional and Religious leaders in Nsanje district to aid in voter mobilisation ahead of by elections in the district.
The development follows fears of possible voter apathy in the district after it has emerged that only 30 percent of the 17, 306 voters who registered during the 2019 tripartite elections in Nsanje Lalanje ward have verified their names.
It has also emerged that only 2 percent of voters have registered for the June 29th by elections in Lalanje ward which is going to be held concurrently with that of Chikwembere ward in Blantyre North Constituency and Nkhata Bay central constituency.
But speaking during an interview on Monday at the end of a series of interface meetings the electoral body held in the district, MEC head of Civic and Voter Education Chikondi Kambwiri said the electoral body has reached out to about 196 traditional leaders and 113 religious leaders in the district to assist the electoral body in mobilising their subjects to come out in large numbers during the voting day.
Kambwiri said during the four-day interface meetings, the religious and traditional leaders, were also reminded on voting procedures, conducts which are in breach of electoral laws and also on the roles of the councilor in bringing development at the local level so that they can civic educate their subjects on the same.
“As one way of ensuring that we achieve a higher turn out during the fourth coming by elections, we have mobilised over 300 religious and Traditional leaders in the district to help us mobilise their subjects to come out and vote in mass during the upcoming by elections.
“As you know chiefs and religious leaders are the custodians of people. They are therefore in a better position to influence their subjects to take part in the fourth coming by elections,” said Kambwiri when he winded up the interface meetings at Bangura Primary School.
On his part Traditional Authority Mbenje of Nsanje, district promised to encourage his subjects to patronize the upcoming by elections.
He also said he will sensitise his subjects to refrain from any form of violence throughout the electoral period.
Most by-elections in the country have been characterised by voter apathy a development political analyst have attributed to loss of trust the electorates have developed over the years in their elected leaders due to their unfulfilled promises.