The Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) has blamed political parties for the low turnout in Phase Seven of voter registration exercise which started on Monday in some districts of the Northern Region.
In an interview on Wednesday, commissioner Moffat Banda said the exercise started in Chitipa, Karonga and Rumphi with a lukewarm reception as was the case in some districts of the Southern and Central regions.
He said parties are conducting campaign rallies on the same dates and places voter registration is taking place.
Banda said this has resulted in rallies pulling large crowds of people who are also potential voters.
“During a tour, we discovered that in some centres, people are coming in large numbers as we register up to 400 people in a day. But in other centres where political parties are holding rallies, we get less than 100 people per day.
“We are appealing to political parties to desist from holding rallies in areas we are conducting the exercise [voter registration],” he said.
In a separate interview, governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) regional governor (North) Kenneth Sanga admitted that the primary elections coincided with the exercise on Monday.
He, however, said the party has since suspended the elections in the three districts until the exercise is completed.
“We moved our elections to Mzimba and Nkhata Bay. We knew about the exercise and we planned our activities to avoid the clash,” he said.
Malawi Congress Party spokesperson Maurice Muthali could not be reached for comment. n