The one minute voter registration!

With 10 months to the May 21 2019 Tripartite Elections, there is no madness greater than people of voting age never making time to enter their names into the voters roll.

It is of no use clouding Facebook and other social media sites with opinion when come the day of elections, you will take no part in deciding who governs your interests.

So, I left home for the office via Chigoneka School in Lilongwe City West which is my most convenient of registration places.

As I got into the school’s yard, save for the intermittent chit-chat that two uniformed Malawi Police Service officers engaged in as they basked in the shy rays of the morning sun, the air was empty and quiet, almost synonymous with inactivity.

“Mwadzuka bwanji? [Good Morning]”  I said as I walked past them.

“Tadzuka kaya inu. Mulowe umo. [We are fine. Kindly walk into that room]” one responded amicably.

I gazed into the building-a classroom – and caught the attention of the voter registration staff. Their smiles compelled me to walk in.

 “Takulandirani. Khalani apa [welcome and have a seat here],” said a lady with a wide smile as she collected my national identity card from my stretched arm.

I pressed myself into the opening of the junior learners’ desk I was offered for a seat.

I was about to have a good gaze at the machines the Malawi Electoral Commission have brought this time around when the lady ‘interrupted.’

In a split instant, the lady had scanned my identity card on the machine placidly resting on top of the desk I sat on.

The guy next to him collected a printed proof of registration, a copy of which he plastered on a sprawling sheet of paper.

Sayinani apa [append your signature here],” said the guy, showing me a spot against the printed proof of registration on the large sheet of paper.

I duly signed.

“Chonde mukasamale aka [please take good care of this],” said the guy as he handed over the other copy of the printed proof of registration and gave me a parting smile.

I could not believe my eyes. You see, it took me less than a minute to complete the process!

In previous elections, the process was so manual and cumbersome it took many people manning too many stages. As a result, the congestion in the stages translated into queues snaking hundreds of metres outside the registration centres.

You would even be guaranteed a half or a whole day of waiting to enter your name into the voters roll. This year it is all different-quick and nice!

With the centres open for the entire period allocated to an area-30 July to 12 August for Lilongwe City-including weekends and public holidays, there is no excuse to miss out on the registration.

All you need is a minute!

Imagine a family of 10 members of voting age taking less than 15 minutes!

So, for social football teams rushing for a game this weekend; a cluster of women hurrying to a bridal shower; a Reverend rushing to a funeral-there is utterly no excuse! n

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