Registration of voters and updating of the voters’ register is expected to start today for by-elections to be conducted on November 10, 2020 in five constituencies and a ward, Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) has said.
Three of the constituencies fell vacant because the court nullified their 2019 election results. One constituency fell vacant due to resignation while the other one, due to the death of its Member of Parliament.
The areas are Mangochi West, Mangochi North East, Phalombe North, Lilongwe North West, Karonga Central and Makhwira South Ward in Chikwawa East Constituency.
In an interview yesterday, Mec Director of Media and Public Relations, Sangwani Mwafulirwa, said the commission will open centres for two weeks for registration and voter verification from today to September 27.
“When going for registration, all new registrants are encouraged to take their national IDs. Those that have not registered for the national ID should do so now at the District Commissioner’s office and designated post offices. When coming to register as a voter they should bring the slip they will be given as proof of national registration,” Mwafulirwa said.
According to Mec, all those who registered for the 2019 tripartite elections, whether they voted or not, do not need to register again, but rather go and verify their names in the voters’ register.
The electoral body has further said that all those that registered in preparation of the fresh presidential election this year need to register again and that no transfers will be permitted.
Addressing members of the National Elections Consultative Forum in Lilongwe last week, Mec Chairperson Chifundo Kachale said Mec engaged the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 and leaders of political parties through the Centre for Multiparty Democracy regarding the holding of by-elections amidst the pandemic.
Kachale said no one will be accepted to be present at the centres without a face mask; queuing will be at two arms’ length and hand-washing facilities will be available for use.
Presentation of nominations of candidates is expected to take place on October 7, 2020.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic Mec has indicated that candidates will be allowed to come with not more than 10 members escorting them.
The official campaign period started on September 10, 2020 and is scheduled to wind up on November 8, 2020.