Voters’ roll verification exercise starts with low turnout

A voter verifying his name at Chitawira
A voter verifying his name at Chitawira

The voters roll inspection has restarted on a low note in some centres in Blantyre and Chiradzulu with only less than 100 individuals turning up for the inspection five hours after opening in at least five centres visited.

The Nation’s visit at St Kizito Centre in Blantyre City East Constituency found that out of 9 332 registered voters, only 40 people had turned up for verification as of 1pm yesterday.

A supervisor at the centre, Theresa Sumphi, said most of those who came for verification were people who lost their voters identity cards and came with the hope of getting another one.

A supervisor at Chiradzulu Primary School Centre in Chiradzulu Central Constituency, Beatrice Mwachande, said so far the verification has started well though with only a few people turning up for verification because as of two hours after opening of the exercise at the centre, only 28 people out of 3 626 registered voters had come for verification.

However, a supervisor at Chitawira Primary School centre in Blantyre City South Constituency said they received people whose names were not in the voters’ roll but have voters certificates from the centre.

“The turnout is very poor. It is like people have not been told properly of the verification exercise. Despite that, there are other names that are not in the register, but have a voter’s certificates, so we are giving these people a form to fill and it will be taken to Malawi Electoral Commission [MEC],” he said.

MEC spokesperson Sangwani Mwafulirwa said being the first day of the exercise, the turnout would not be high.

Commenting on the development at Chitawira, Mwafulirwa said it was normal for people to have voters certificates, but their names not appearing in the voters’ roll of that particular centre.

“There are cases where there were preliminary errors in data coding and names of people who registered at other centres can be found at other centres and this is the whole essence of the verification process,” he said.

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