Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Mess in voter registration threatens election in Malawi

With only 27 days to go to elections, most Malawians are yet to know whether they are going to cast their votes as their particulars, in the voters’ registration book, are mixed up.

Electoral Commission (EC) suspended the voter verification exercise when it was discovered that most names and photographs of the would-be-voters in the computer could not match with those on the voting cards.

This is the first time Malawi has compiled names of the voters in a computer.

In a country that have no national identity cards and with only less than 500,000 owning passports it would be difficult to identify or verify the identity of the would-be voters. Malawi has got a population of over 3 million.

But EC assured Malawians that the mess in the registration will be sorted out and people will be able to vote in the May 19 elections and have since employed 500 teachers to verify the names before taking them to the public again.

All political parties urged EC to suspend the voter verification exercise and sort out the mess in the registration book because it could disfranchise some people.

EC is yet to announce a new date for voter verification exercise. About 5.9 million Malawians are expected to cast their votes in the forth coming election.

Over 1000 people from political parties and independent are aspiring for 193 seats in parliament and seven people are contesting for the presidency.

Millions of people are likely to fail to cast their votes if the mess could not be sorted out in time.

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