Low voter turnout mars Karonga by-elections

Low voter turnout mars Karonga by-elections

Voting to elect three ward councillors for Kaporo, Chilanga and Rukuru in Karonga District closed yesterday with low turnout as a major concern for electoral stakeholders.

Speaking to the media after closing the voting process at 4pm at Mwenitete in Kaporo Ward, Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) chairperson Chifundo Kachale said the by-election was the third set after the Mtiya Ward in Zomba and Dedza Central Constituency conducted using the new electoral laws which became effective on June 15 2023.

However, he said despite several challenges that affected deployment plans due to rains that rendered some roads impassable, forcing MEC to hire motorbikes and ox carts to ferry staff and materials, voting went on uninterrupted.

Kachale, a judge of the High Court of Malawi, said: “Since morning, the commission and staff has been monitoring the polling process by visiting the polling stations. Although the final figures have not been compiled regarding voter turnout, from our monitoring of the process from morning to closing time, it paints a picture which is not a departure from the norm that by-elections are characterised with lower turnout than a general election”.

He said they also have experienced a good number of people that presented themselves for voting yet they did not register as voters.

The commission is expected to announce official results today from the main tally centre set at Maghemo Secondary School.

In an interview, National Initiative for Civic Education Trust civic education specialist Mabvuto Mkandawire agreed with Kachale, saying electoral stakeholders must engage an extra gear to deal with low turnout that mostly affect by-elections.

The three wards became vacant following the conviction of three councillors by the magistrate court in the district on September 1 2023.

The councillors belonged to Malawi Congress Party, UTM Party and Democratic Progressive Party.

The post Low voter turnout mars Karonga by-elections first appeared on The Nation Online.

The post Low voter turnout mars Karonga by-elections appeared first on The Nation Online.